What’s Up Wednesday? Week 3!

Yay! Another successful week for the Ready. Set. WRITE! version of What’s up Wednesday!

What I’m Writing:

Actual progress this week! I finished plugging all the feedback I’ve collected into my WIP’s original outline in Scrivener, doing massive thinking along the way about what I need to do to resolve each issue when I start the actual rewrite. I probably sound like I’m on the slow road to nowhere with this approach, especially after letting the manuscript sit for almost a year, but with this particular project, I decided to give it all the time it needs, which is apparently a lot. But now that all my thoughts and ideas are in place, I decided I’m actually ready to start messing around with the new outline for this new version! I dug in yesterday and feel like I’m actually planning a new manuscript now. Yay!

What I’m Reading:

I’d started BELLE EPOQUE byElizabeth Ross last Wednesday and I only needed another day to finish it. What a beautifully-written, atmospheric read! If you like historical fiction that transports you to another place and time (like late nineteenth century Paris!), this book is for you.

I’m almost done reading the other ARC I borrowed from Jennifer Malone’s BEA haul. 🙂 ENTANGLED by Amy Rose Capetta is another YA sci-fi, and I’m hoping for a huge, satisfying ending, so I’ll find out soon.

I’m also beta-reading a wonderful historical fantasy for a new critique partner I met at NESCBWI.  It’s so well-written that I know it’s going to find a home. Love that feeling!

What Inspires Me:

I spent a lot of time this past weekend in a couple of online German photo archives, and while I could probably spend weeks just doing this, even a couple of days were helpful too see the details of the time and place.

What did dance students wear in Munich in 1916? I found this image on http://timelineimages.sueddeutsche.de:

Schule für Tanz in München, 1916

And this one of disabled veterans doing calisthenics (also relevant to my story) in 1917 on http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org (the image resides at the Preußischer Bildarchiv):

Kriegsversehrte bei sportlichen šbungen

I’m trying not to spend too much additional time on research since I already did a boatload of research for my previous version of the manuscript, but as a history geek, it’s definitely part of the rush.

What Else is Going on:

Summer is in full swing, and I’ve been taking my small twins out to the beach, the pool, and the park as much as possible. They’re also really starting to love to read by themselves. One of my favorite moments last week was sitting on a blanket in our back yard with one of my girls while I read my book and she read hers. Bliss!

Looking forward to reading about everyone else’s weeks, too!

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Ready. Set. WRITE!

ready set write button

What I’m Writing (and What Inspires Me):

Anyone who knows me knows I’m kind of always writing. I might take a random week off here or there, but for the most part, I get up crazy-early every morning and use that time for drafting, revising, plotting, or the like.

But things are a little weird right now. I’m querying one novel and had outlined a new one I was planning to work on next. Then one of my critique partners tweeted this:

beth_tweet

I knew the answer to this question right away–and not because I was thinking about my freshly-outlined new project. It was a bit like standing at the altar with someone who’d recently swept me away and realizing I couldn’t do this, and more than that, realizing that my heart belonged with my one true love, and OH MY GOD, GET ME OUT OF HERE AND OVER THERE NOW!

Nope, it’s neither my new manuscript nor the one I’m querying, but my previous one–my favorite project ever. This one. It’s had a nice long rest, but I’m not content to let it sit in my drawer anymore.

So, goals: I’m planning on taking it slow, setting the manuscript up as a new project in my pal Scrivener and working through the big-picture issues in my outline to start with. There will probably be lots of Thinking, and I’m not planning to do any actual writing on it until the fall, at which point I plan to do a full rewrite from scratch. This definitely won’t be a quick, fun draft, but all I know is that if I could only write one more story, it would be this.

orpheus

What I’m Reading:

I just finished THE 5TH WAVE, which is every bit as amazeballs as they say, and I’m continuing my Sci-fi kick now with THESE BROKEN STARS. I already know I’ll be diving back into some historicals after this though, since I just ordered BELLE EPOQUE today, and already can’t wait for it!

What Else I’ve Been Doing:

Preschool ended for my small twins last week, so we’ve already had a flurry of zoo visits, swims, walks, and picnics, all interspersed with tons of books, of course. Much more of the same to come for the rest of the summer!

A Moment in Brightest Midnight

Fun new game! Elodie aka Commuting Girl tagged me in a snippet-sharing blog post. Check out hers here. Definitely makes me curious to read more!

I’m sharing a snippet from my YA sci-fi, Brightest Midnight. The rules were: “Search the words “moment,” “forever,” “time,” or the like in your writing, pick your favorite chunk, post on your blog, and tag others!” I opted for “moment,” but it was a lot of fun looking for all three words.

“Come on, Finn.” I can’t tell if the mounting jitters in my belly are trying to tell me how much I want to see him or avoid him. Either way, I’m used to waiting for him. Keeping busy is the only thing I can do. I climb into the Haukur’s cockpit and prepare for departure by clicking through my pre-flight checklist.

Done. I’m submitting my flight plan to the tower when the buzz of Finnur’s vespu-racer drones closer. A glacial boulder rises up in my throat. I can’t put this moment off any longer. As he parks and turns off his engine, I start the ignition, open the Haukur’s throttle, and inspect the controls. My knees bounce non-stop as I wait for him to join me.

“Hi, Lilja.” He opens the door and climbs into the co-pilot’s seat beside me, his dark blond hair falling over the bridge of his nose. 

That’s it! I’m tagging Michelle, Patty, and Beth. Can’t wait to see a moment in your manuscripts!

Inspired by … travel!

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When it comes to brainstorming new story ideas, one of the things that often grabs me strongest is the setting. This probably stems from my passion for travel. My favorite part about traveling besides the food (because FOOD) …

parador_breakfast

… is the way it makes me notice what the people who live there see every day with fresh eyes. Every little detail is a novelty, and every new corner holds some surprise. Highlighting the right amount of detail in the worlds we create–providing readers with this same sense of novelty we get when we travel–is part of our job as writers.

parador_heads

I’m currently polishing a WIP set in the skies over Iceland. The setting came to me before anything with this story–even before the characters. I’ve only been to Iceland once, but it was enough for the haunting landscape to blow me away with its beauty. I tucked away everything I saw in a corner of my mind and waited for the chance to use it.

In contrast, I just got back from an amazing trip to Spain. My husband is from there, his whole family lives there, and we’ve been there to visit too many times to count. I know, I know, I am soooo lucky! I adore Spain.

But … but … I found that I really had to work much harder to capture those little details in my mind this time. For the first time in all my visits, Spain actually felt like home. I’ve become fluent enough in Spanish that I don’t have the language barrier anymore. I know my way around the family’s neighborhoods in Madrid and Valencia. There are even fewer new foods to try and instead favorite standbys I have to make sure to sample while I can.

Luckily, I realized this. I worked harder and opened my eyes and looked for the details. And of course, they were there. Do you see them too?

parador_night

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September #Wipmadness Week 4!

It’s hard to believe we began last week with the midpoint of the month and we’ll close this week with the month’s end. This whole month flew by for me, but I ended up hitting my15K new words goal this past weekend! Since I’m on a roll, I’m going for 6K more this week so I can finish up the month with a nice, even 50K total. How are you all doing on your goals?

No mater how you did, I hope you’re still trying. It’s so motivating for me to see your shining faces here each week. We’ve been discussing what inspires us to work on our WIPs this month, and this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about one more great source of inspiration: you all, my #wipmadness writing buddies.

I can’t tell you how much it means to me to share the joys and challenges of the writing life with you all. I’ve read many of your wonderful manuscripts, cheered for you when you got agents (OK, sometimes screamed for you when you got agents!), and gave or gotten virtual hugs at the bumps on the road. Writing may be very solitary, but I definitely need this support network to motivate me as much as I need my WIP to inspire me on its own. So a huge thank-you to all of you!

And on that note, this week’s prize goes to:

Angelina!

Congratulations! Just let me know which book you want: Circle 9 or The Breakup Bible.

Hope you continue to find all kinds of wonderful inspiration–and writing friends–all around you. And best of luck racing to the finish line this last week of September!

Week 3 of #Wipmadness–Halfway There!

Welcome to week 3 of September’s #wipmadness! First off, the #wipmadness prize from the lucky Sox cap last week goes to:

Alissa!

Just let me know which of the remaining books you want (The Forest for the Trees, Circle 9, or The Breakup Bible), and I’ll get it off to you this week.

Who else is surprised that we’re starting week 3 already? I personally can’t believe how fast the days go by when I’m drafting. I managed to hit 10K new words on the WIP this month so far, and should be hitting 40K total on the WIP any day now. Even so, my head’s spinning a little at the thought that we’ve just hit the halfway point of the month. Craziness!

Like a manuscript, the middle point of a writing month can potentially get a little droopy–when you’re well past the inspiration of the beginning and far from the other end of the tunnel. At this auspicious point in the month, I thought I’d share something else that keeps me motivated while drafting: WIP-music.

I’m probably one of the only people I know without an iPod! Am I right? Do you all have one? I haven’t felt the need because we have a cool system set up at home. I buy CDs and then my husband rips and compress them into an OGG-Vorbis fomat, which compresses audio files much smaller than the typical .mp3 or .aiff formats, and then he loads them up on our “Squeeze Box” music server that holds our whole collection.

I treated myself earlier this month to the latest CD by Sigur Rós (Valtari), one of my favorite Icelandic bands.

Part of the reason I’ve loved the Icelandic setting of my WIP so much is because of the music that goes along with it. Sigur Rós and múm are two of my favorite bands, and I’ve been playing their albums pretty much every day for a little extra inspiration. I know some people need silence to write, but I often have to work with other people around me (my teeny desk is in our living room), so I’ve found the extra creativity surge from related music to be just the thing I need to help pull me into the WIP.

Anyone other wipsters find inspiration in WIP-related music? What’s on your playlist for your current WIP?

In the meantime, hope you all made some progress last week and that the coming week treats you well, too!

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

Thanks to Jaye Robin Brown for tagging me in this fun post! It gives me the chance to talk about the manuscript I’m working on and share that love with some friends. I’m tagging #wipmadness buddies Patrice, JennaWren, and GirlParker!

1. What is the working title of your book? 

Brightest Midnight

2. Where did the idea come from the book?

Ever since visiting Iceland, I’ve wanted to set a book there, so the setting came first. The landscape there is so haunting and natural phenomena so beautiful that I knew what I saw would affect my characters the same way. Plus, I wanted to get them up into the huge sky, complete with its Northern Lights and Midnight Sun.

3. What genre is your book? 

YA futuristic thriller

4. Which actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie? 

Native Icelanders would make the most sense, so probably no one famous. 😉

5. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book? 

Seventeen-year-old Lilja joins the Icelandic Sky Patrol Corporation’s internship program to fly the big skyships, but when she discovers their plans to harness Iceland’s geothermal energy as a powerful weapon, she’s not sure whose help to enlist in stopping them—her old boyfriend on land or her new best friend on the ship.

6. Will your book be self-published or repped by an agency? 

I’m currently seeking rep for my completed ms, and I’m looking for someone to rep all my work.

7. How long did it take you to finish your first draft? 

Still going!

8. What other books would you compare yours to in this genre? 

STARTERS by Lissa Price and the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE series by Beth Revis (though mine takes place in the stratosphere rather than outer space).

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? 

See my answer to Question 2 above.

10. What else about your book my pique a reader’s interest?

See my manuscript Love List here!