Wednesday, 3 December 2014

What's Up Wednesday: One=Two Edition

Hello, dear blog, dear friends. I know, I know, how long has it been since I actually posted here? I wish I could claim that I am just soooo busy and soooo overwhelmed with soooo much success going on in my life…sadly, the truth is that I am shit at updating this blog and if given the choice between writing a post or another episode of The League/The Killing/Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team, well. We all know what I'm choosing. (My crush on Mark Duplass grows stronger day by day.)

But what better way to ease back in (or, let's be real, post once and the disappear for the next three months, whatever) than with a WUW post?

{click here for a full list of participants!}


What I'm Reading:

I read and loved THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE by Jennifer Mathieu--it's a story about rumours and lies, slut shaming and smear campaigns, alienation and acceptance. I really loved the way the story was structured--it's not told by Alice, but by characters around her, and you get to see exactly how the picture of this girl was constructed, how the stories and rumours were exaggerated and why. I really recommend checking this one out.

I've just started FALLING INTO PLACE by Amy Zhang and I'm definitely intrigued by this one--I'm looking forward to seeing where it's going. (Probably in a heart crushing direction.)


What I'm Writing:

I finally finished turning my MS from one story into two--I mean, finished as in now I have two separate drafts. Right now I'm going through reader comments and doing some general editing--I think my goal for this week will be reading the entire way through MS1 and polishing enough to send it out for others to read.

[maybe scene? maybe new scene? maybe losing my mind? yes.]


What Works For Me:

I would love to have a perfect place to write, but honestly, it just isn't possible. I don't have a beautiful office (future dreams!) and I can't always write at my desk in my room, or in the kitchen with other people coming in. I think it's a good idea to not be like that, actually, because once you get in a routine it becomes harder and harder to work without it, and then what happens when you can't have your perfect set up?

All I really need is my laptop and music. That's all, and that means I can work anywhere, anytime, pretty much. I usually turn the music off part of the way through writing while I'm searching for the perfect word in my head, but I like it at the beginning to get into the right setting. And it's oh so necessary if I'm writing at a coffee shop or library.


What Else Is New:

I'm going away with a few friends this weekend, to a cabin in the woods (cue murder music) and I'm so excited! We're just going to hang out watching films, talking shit, and generally relaxing. It's going to be so nice because we're at the stage where people are moving away and starting Real Life, so we don't get the chance to get together all that often.

 Other than that, not much is going on--I have an interview for a different position at work next week (fingers crossed), I think I'm getting ill (boo!) and even though I am judging everybody on my street with their Christmas lights up, I'm playing my favourite Christmas songs.


xoxo

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

What's Up Wednesday: The Catch Up Edition

HEY. I haven't posted for WUW since, like…early June? When I had just gotten a puppy and was still drafting and I only had braces on my bottom teeth? Let's catch up.

{click here for a full list of participants!}
What I'm Reading:

Let me run through some excellent books I've read in the past couple of months:


  • COMPLICIT by Steph Kuehn--she writes such excellent, twisty, psychological stories. I cannot wait for her next, DELICATE MONSTERS.
  • OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord--oh, how much do I love Reagan? She's messed up and a little mean and strong and I want her to be my BFF.
  • THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott--dark, creepy, strange. Everything I want from a Megan Abbott book.
  • SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson--I think this is my favourite of hers. I loved seeing Emily become brave.
  • RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo--a great conclusion to a great trilogy. Is it wrong that I still love the Darkling?
  • PRETTY DEAD by Francesca Lia Block--has anyone read this? I picked it up at the library on a whim. It's a vampire story, but not really like any others I've read.
  • BEAUTIFUL by Amy Reed--God, this was hard to get through. It's bleak and dark and pretty terrifying. But worth it.

[how I spend my breaks.]


What I'm Writing:

Deep breath.

I am splitting my manuscript, THE QUIETEST KIND, into two.

It's weird, but I'm actually not that scared by it, and I'm really enjoying the process of working out how to do it, what needs to be added, what new plot lines could work, and so much more. I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for some excellent, excellent notes from Sara, who may possibly be a genius. (FYI, she has a freelance editing service that you should look into if you're in the market for that sort of thing. Do I need to repeat the genius thing here?)

Once I've finished turning it from one into two, I'll go through and work on addressing the notes I got from a couple of other readers. And then it will be perfect and amazing and all the agents will want me and it will sell at auction, etc. etc. You know where this story ends (fame and glory and an infinity pool).

[earlier, simpler revising days.]


What Works For Me:

I saw something the other day that made so much sense to me. (On Twitter? Tumblr? Is it a famous quote that I don't recognise? I wish I could remember…)

To paraphrase, it was: the thing you are writing now should be the hardest thing you have ever written.

I think that is one of the smartest, most inspiring things to keep in our minds as we write. And hard can mean all kinds of things: subject matter, format, the simple act of trying to tell the story you're writing in the right way. Some of the things I write are hard because I make them, because I decide to have five POVs or jump around in time or make magic happen. Sometimes they're hard because I write about sad things, not-easy things, scary things. But every time I write feel the challenge, and when I feel like I've told the story the way it deserves to be told or made sense of a messy, wild first draft, I get a flash of pride. If we're writing easy things, what are we learning? What are we giving people with our stories?

I don't know what I'm really saying now, other than that's my advice for this week. That the thing you are writing now should be the hardest thing you have ever written.


What Else I've Been Up To:


Let's see: attending housewarming parties in London, going for cocktails with my best girls, walking the dog (a lot), getting new tattoos. Having more metal put in my mouth. Sleeping, working, participating in Ready. Set. WRITE! Seeing IF I STAY (which is so good, and Mireille Enos is so badass in it I may watch The Killing now, and Jamie Blackley is the new love of my life). Listening to so many podcasts (check out First Draft with Sarah Enni!). Sunbathing and dyeing my hair and attempting to grow flowers.



Y'know. The usual.

It's late now, so I'll probably make the rounds of everyone else's posts tomorrow. Sweet dreams!

xoxo

Monday, 25 August 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #12

{click here for all the RSW details!}
It's the end of Ready. Set. WRITE! Does that mean it's the end of summer? It definitely feels like it here, as the rain keeps pouring outside the window.

Moving on to brighter things...

How I did on this summer's goal(s)

Let's flashback to the beginning of this thing:
My main goal for RSW14 is to FINISH A FIRST DRAFT OF THE STORY KNOWN AS SURFING GIRLS. I just want to get this thing DONE!

Well, I did it! I finished! I have a first draft and now I can forget about it for the next…six months! Okay, maybe not that long. But I am excited to have a break from this story, get into something else, and go back to this one in the future with a clearer vision for what I want to achieve.



This is probably the messiest, longest, weirdest draft I've ever written. I'm not a huge planner but I usually know where the story is going even if I don't know exactly how to get there; this time around, I had no clue at all. At the halfway point I knew two ways the ending could go, and about a week from finishing I still hadn't decided which way I wanted to go. That is not a great place to be.

But I figured it out, and it's done now, and who cares if it's messy? Revisions is where all that gets fixed, and even though I know it's going to drive me crazy unraveling this story, it's also going to be so worth it.

I couldn't have finished this draft without RSW. Or, I could have, but it would have taken me another six months. So thanks to Jaime, Erin, Katy, and Alison for starting this whole thing last year. And thanks to all those who were on Twitter, cheering each other on--writing with other people, albeit through a computer and across an ocean, made everything feel a lot less solitary.


A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised
“I make no promises.” Britt felt her pulse pounding and rubbed her lacquered lips together. “There was something else I wanted to ask you.”
“Shoot.”

She looked him straight in the eyes as she found the words. “Would it be okay if I kissed you right now?”

 The biggest challenge I faced this summer

It was mostly (lack of)motivation, feeling like I'd The End just kept getting further away the more I wrote, and having no clue what I was writing. Writing is isolating and crazy-making, but I feel like I kicked its ass this summer. A little, at least.


Something I love about my WIP

Even though this story was a struggle, I do love it. I love my characters and their families, their loves. I love the lengths they'll go to for each other. I love the setting and the places and people they see along the way. I love Nicole's Vogue addiction, Annabelle's messy hair, Tristan's easy smile, Britt's type-A neuroses. I love Cass' flaws.

*

I hope everybody had a good time with Ready. Set. WRITE! If you finished a draft or got halfway through, outlined or wrote a query or planned or revised or whatever else--it's all something, and it's all good.

To finish, here is the music video that planted the first seed of this story in my head:



xoxo

Monday, 18 August 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #11

{click here for all the RSW details!}


How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I wanted to figure out my ending and I actually did! Thank God. I also plotted out each scene I need to write to reach those magical words.

My goal(s) for this week

This week's goal is to actually, finally finish. As of right now I have six scenes (plus some other stuff) to write before I get there.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

       She strode over to the Camaro, raised up the board, and cracked it down on the right headlight. It shattered in an explosion of glass, raining out over the ground.
     “Jesus Christ!” Asshole One covered the distance to his car in a second, skidding to a stop before he hit the glass. “You psycho bitch!”
      “Oops.” Annabelle brandished her board again, turning to the others with a wide grin on her face. “My hand slipped.”


 The biggest challenge I faced this week

I have this thing called a job? And I, like, have to go to it, when I would rather be writing? So inconsiderate.

Something I love about my WIP

Girls being take charge and kicking ass.


See you next Monday for another check-in!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #10

{click here for all the RSW details!}


How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I was aiming to write five days this week, but I actually ended up doing seven, so I'm pretty happy!

My goal(s) for this week

I really, really, desperately want to get to THE END of this draftso I actually need to figure out what I want the ending to be. I want to start drastically shortening my scenes, too, getting the bare minimum written--usually I don't like to be "lazy", but I just want to get words down and this first draft done so I can move on to something else for a while.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

       She heard Caleb’s sigh, could picture him rubbing his hand over his face in that tired way he would when she insisted on another practice midterm. “Do we have to do this over the phone? I’d rather talk to you in person. I could come over. Or,” he added when Britt didn’t say anything, “we could go someplace. If you feel more comfortable with that.”
       “I can’t.”
       “Why not?” he said, and he sounded frustrated now. “Come on, Britt. Don’t push me away.”
     “I’m not,” she said. “I swear. But the thing is, I’m in New Mexico right now and it’s kind of a long way to drive to get coffee with you.”
     The cute couple came into sight again, back around that corner they’d disappeared around, and now Britt was right opposite them—could hear their voices rising and falling as they walked by. Her stare must have been less subtle than she thought, because the tall one looked over at her, giving her a cautious smile.
     “What the fuck are you doing in New Mexico?” Caleb laughed, sweet sound in her ear. “Britt Montgomery, you are so weird.”
        “It’s a long story.” Britt dipped her chin at the guy across the street, feeling her cheeks heat, and then looked away. She flicked out her tongue to wet her lips and let herself exhale. “Maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime.”

 The biggest challenge I faced this week

My sleep schedule is so out of whack, and I'm losing all the morning writing time I was having before because I'm still lying in bed. I need to make friends with my alarm again (and maaaybe stop staying up until stupid o'clock watching Orphan Black).

Something I love about my WIP

A certain boy named Caleb. I can't help it--my stories are not complete unless they feature a sweet, hot boy somewhere!


See you next Monday for another check-in!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Five Facts {TAG}

The lovely Sara Biren tagged me for this character blog-hop, the rules for which are simple: list five facts about a character of mine.

I thought I'd share a little about Olivia Lee, a character from my MS THE QUIETEST KIND. Olivia is a new girl in my two MCs' lives, and one of my favourite girls that I've ever written.



*   *   *

[art by Ciara McQueirns]


1. Olivia cannot drive, but she is an excellent shotgun rider. Music selecting, direction reading, snack passing--no-one does it better than her.


2. She came out when she was thirteen, but pretty quickly realised that she was going to spend her whole life coming out every time she met somebody new. Which is exhausting.


3. Dancing is one of the only things in the world that makes her completely--we're talking blushing, sweating, awkward-arm-movements--embarrassed.


4. She has a serious addiction to bleach, box dye, and cutting her hair with blunt scissors at stupid times of night.


5. When she grows up she'd like to teach in her old neighbourhood, create graphic novels, illustrate picture books, make short animations…anything, as long as she can have a pencil in her hand.



[art by Guy Denning]

*   *   *

I'm tagging Karyne Norton and Ghenet Myrthil!


xoxo

Monday, 4 August 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #9

{click here for all the RSW details!}


How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I didn't finish the scene I started last week, but I got some good words down last night(/early this morning) and finished another half-scene in the week, so I'm calling it a win.

My goal(s) for this week

I suck at writing lately, and at having motivation of any kind, so my goal is just to get back into my regular writing routine. That means sitting down to write five days this week.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

She felt guilty for thinking that as soon as it entered her head, but—it was a little true, at least. Nicole was the wounded soul, the delicate creature. Britt was the realist, pragmatic to the core. So she needed to act like herself now, to figure out what the fuck they were going to do now.

 The biggest challenge I faced this week

I currently have tonsillitis, so there's that! I also have major brace pain. Those things+writing=NOT HAPPENING, apparently.

Something I love about my WIP

Hmm. (I'm struggling to even like this thing right now.) Let's go with one of my MCs, Britt: she won't take any shit and I love that.


See you next Monday for another check-in!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #8

{click here for all the RSW details!}


How I did on last week’s goal(s)

Um, I wrote about half a scene last night because I felt bad about not writing. Better than nothing!

My goal(s) for this week

Write the other half of that scene.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Darkness and light.

 The biggest challenge I faced this week

Yeah, I have no motivation. It's so much nicer to wake up late, read in the sun, and watch TV than actually write. But I'm trying not to feel bad about it!

Something I love about my WIP

It flips from third person to first, which is a challenge, but I love it.


See you next Monday for another check-in!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #7

{click here for all the RSW details!}


How I did on last week’s goal(s)

Five days: check. More than 500 words each day: check. And relatively struggle free!

My goal(s) for this week

I have some time off from work this week and next, so I'm not sure how much writing I'll actually do. I think I'll set myself the goal of finishing one scene, maybe two. And maybe a little bit of reading back, seeing where I'm at with this MS.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

I pat the bench next to me. "I love your shoes. How can you walk in them? I would trip and die if I even tried."
     She sits down, playing a staccato rhythm with her heels on the asphalt. "Practice. It's not so hard once you get used to it. And I like the way they make me feel." She lifts her head, staring off into the distance. "Powerful," she say. "I like it."

 The biggest challenge I faced this week

This week I had a dress rehearsal, two dance performances, a library event and a family thing yesterday (plus work). Plus it's hella hot. The temptation to laze around in bed watching Undercover Boss USA was strong.

Something I love about my WIP

All the different people and places my characters are experiencing through this story--I like getting to write those things.

See you next Monday for another check-in!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #6

{click here for all the RSW details!}


How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I wrote six days this week, one more than I'd set myself. It wasn't pretty, but I did it.

My goal(s) for this week

Write 500+ words five days this week.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Dear Diary: it is three hours later and I have no clue what I was talking about. I feel like I should point out that my use of the phrase ‘dear diary’ is strictly ironic. Much like my wearing of scrunchies and hair metal band shirts. According to Nicole, in fashionland you can get away with anything as long as you say you’re doing it ironically. Imagine if the rest of life was like that. “Yes, officer, I killed him, but I did it ironically.” Let’s be real, men get away with killing women on shittier excuses than that.  
 The biggest challenge I faced this week

Fatigue. This draft seems to be never-ending (I feel the same way about all my drafts, but this one especially feels like the end keeps getting further and further away the more I write).

Something I love about my WIP

Exploring how people deal with grief in so many different and strange ways.


See you next Monday for another check-in!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #5

{click here for all the RSW details!}


How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I read zero books, wrote four days, and hit my word count goal on three of those days. So…not great.

My goal(s) for this week

Write five days this week. However many words I can manage.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

She watched the still water, glowing with the underwater lights, and felt a trickle of sweat creep down her spine, settling in the small of her back. It was a stifling, muggy hot out here, the kind of heat that forewarned of thunder storms and pounding rain. Across the street from the motel a field of tall grass stood straight, no breeze at all to rustle through it. 

The biggest challenge I faced this week

Motivation, time, motivation.

Something I love about my WIP

Road trip!


See you next Monday for another check-in!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #4

{click here for all the RSW details!}


How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I only read one book but it was a great one (OPEN ROAD SUMMER). Met (and exceeded by a decent amount) my word count goals--definitely getting back into the swing of drafting. FINALLY. Sent a couple of queries.

My goal(s) for this week

Write 500+ words five days this week, and work on how I want this story to end.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Annabelle opened her eyes behind her gold-rimmed aviators, tipping her head back to feel the wind rushing over her face and catching her hair, to bathe in the glow of the brilliant midday sun.

The biggest challenge I faced this week

I had a writing-related existential crisis around the end of the week. So fun! Not.

Something I love about my WIP

This week I added a cat! Cats make everything better.


See you next Monday for another check-in!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #3

{click here for all the RSW details!}


How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I met my word count goals but I only sent out one query, so…I'll give myself 75% and a must-try-harder.

My goal(s) for this week

Write 500+ words five days this week, and send out more than one query for FATE. Read two books.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

There’s a little pinpoint prick of light deep inside me that I can find in the dark of night and know that she’s not gone, not entirely, not yet.

The biggest challenge I faced this week

Keeping scenes short--my first drafts are getting longer and longer and I'm trying to combat that.

Something I love about my WIP

It's sunny and summery, even when it's sad.


See you next Monday for another check-in!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #2

{click here for all the RSW details!}

How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I crushed it! I wanted to write 500+ words six days this week, and I even had a day where I broke 1k, which hasn't happened in forever.

My goal(s) for this week

Write 500+ words five days this week, and send out a fresh batch of queries for FATE.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

It was so easy to default to the version of events that had been the accepted truth for so long. To think that Lyla was missing, gone, and would always be so.

The biggest challenge I faced this week

Fitting in words before going to work (not that I had to get up early--I just always manage to fill the time with other things). Figuring out a kink in the plot--I don't really outline so I run into this time and time again.

Something I love about my WIP

I love that it's full of women--my four MCs, their families, teachers, friends, doctors. And the relationships are almost completely positive: minimal bitch, little snark, no bite. I love writing that.

See you next Monday for another check-in!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2014 #1



Summertime is finally here! Sort of. This is England, after all: if there's anything you can expect at any moment, it is rain. But even though it may not always be sunny and warm, it's still summer, and that means it's time for Ready. Set. WRITE! to begin for the second time. If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime Morrow, Erin Funk, Katy Upperman, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW last year.)

I had such a fun time doing this last year and achieved a lot--I finished revisions on one manuscript, began querying it, and started a new draft too. There's something about knowing other people are out there working alongside me (figuratively speaking--oh, what I would give to have an actual, in-real-life writing date with some of the lovely ladies I've met!) that gives me that extra little bit of drive, that makes me push myself when all I want to do is curl up in bed with tumblr and cat videos.

My main goal for RSW14 is to FINISH A FIRST DRAFT OF THE STORY KNOWN AS SURFING GIRLS. I just want to get this thing DONE!

THIS WEEK'S GOALS:
 Write 500+ words on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
See you next Monday for check-in!