Wednesday, 7 January 2015

What's Up Wednesday: Bring Your Shit, 2015

{click here for a full list of participants!}

Okay, it's a new year, 2014 sucked, blah blah blah: we've all got the message by now, I'm sure. But 2015? This is going to be the year I kick major ass (in the six inch heels I got on super sale the other day) (I can barely walk in them but ass kicking is another story). I'm telling you right now, this is going to be The Year of Becky.

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(Yes, I am borrowing that from Happy Endings' Penny Hartz.) (Happy Endings was a great show and you should watch it.) (And Casey Wilson is a boss chick and one of my absolute faves.)

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What I'm Reading:

I started my year with a Sara Zarr because I love, love, love her writing so much and THE LUCY VARIATIONS has been sitting on my shelf waiting for the perfect time to be picked up. This was so the perfect time--I loved the story, and the music, and all of Lucy's flaws but especially her strengths. It also reminded me that not all stories have to be these big, sweeping epics with explosions and secrets societies and passionate romances. Which, duh--but sometimes, being a writer of small, quiet stories, it's easy to be afraid that no one will want to read them. And then I read a beautiful, quiet story and remember that it's not true.

Right now I'm halfway through AUDREY, WAIT! by Robin Benway, which I got because one Tracey Neithercott raved about it so much that I had to check it out. So far, it's living up to the hype--I'm especially loving Audrey's best friend Victoria and of course Bendy the cat. It's definitely a fun read!

What I'm Writing:

My revision-slash-turning-one-book-into-two is complete! Sort of. As it stands, these manuscripts are a kind of duology, and although both are finished drafts, I've been paying more attention to what I suppose is Book One. So it's been revised, read through, revised some more, read through some more, revised some more…basically, I'm at the point where I need outside eyes.

{Imagine a brilliant segue here}

So who wants to read this manuscript? Oh my god, stop screaming! Okay, okay, you all can have a look.


But seriously--if anybody's willing to take a look at this story, I'll be eternally grateful (and of course return the favour). If you want to know a bit more of what it's about…hmm. I was going to say "check out this post and this post and this post!" but it turns out I haven't really blogged any of what this book is about. Instead, I'll share my (rough, very rough, please don't judge me) query:

If Audrey Spencer’s life was a book, it would be one of those cool, glossy coffee table volumes, filled with the pictures she takes: of her adoptive mom laughing with that radiant smile; of her best friend Rose dancing, carefree and careless; of her boyfriend Julian, sweat-slicked and determined behind his bass guitar.  
Only one photograph would ruin it: the pregnancy test and its sneering positive result. Now instead of worrying about framing and aperture, Audrey’s thoughts are filled with this possible baby—a baby that would derail her art school plans, that would turn Julian’s music career dreams into dust.  
Figuring out what to do is driving her almost insane, but the one person she trusts to decipher her crazy is pulling away and Audrey can’t figure out why Rose is suddenly so distant. All she does know is that time keeps moving and the pressure keeps building and then — a letter slips into her hands. A letter from the girl who gave her up seventeen years ago.

It's a story about love and family, and difficult choices, and finding belief in yourself and everyone around you. And this probably goes without saying, but it's a contemp, so if you're into that sort of thing you might like it. Let me know, here or via twitter/email if you prefer.

A goal for this week--I need to get a synopsis written and do some more work on my query.

What Works For Me:

Speaking of the dreaded, awful, hideous synopsis: I'm going to be using Susan Dennard's method. It's the only thing that's ever worked for me and it's magic, I swear. It's so overwhelming trying to distill a 70k MS into one page and making sure you're hitting every important plot point. I'm getting chills just thinking about it.

(Okay, think about something else, distraction, distraction…yes, Charlie Hunnam, picture Charlie Hunnam, good, good…)

Aaaand I'm back. So yeah, writing the synopsis sucks but Susan Dennard rocks and if you struggle as much as me, try her method.

What Else Is New:

Well, I currently have a chest infection, which is so totally super fun! But I have the twisty weirdness of Twin Peaks to distract me (I got the box set for Christmas) and I also just picked up some books on knitting from work--one of my goals for the year is to knit something more than a scarf and I'm going to need a little help. Actually, a lot of help, probably.

So that's what I'm up to in the first real week of The Year of Becky! I hope 2015 has started sweetly for you all.



  1. Good luck with your revisions. Maybe you can ask for beta readers in a writer forum? Your story sounds great and I wish I had time to critique it/beta it, but with all my current editing clients and all my writing deadlines coming up, I barely have time too breathe. I'm sure you'll find someone though.

    My WuW post.

  2. Happy New Year! I'm sure it will be the Year of Becky :) I love Susan Dennard - I could never have written my query or synopsis without her and her revision advice is so useful as well! Hope you feel better soon (and be careful with the Twin Peaks...holy fever dreams, Batman.)

  3. I volunteer to read this super awesome WiP! Seriously, Rebecca, it sounds really good. Just let me know when/if you're interested in sending it my way. :-)

    Isn't Susan Dennard the best? The way she has shared so much writerly wisdom with the writing community pretty much makes her my #1 role model right now. Synopses are the worst, but I'm wishing you all kinds of luck with yours. I think it's so hard to boil a story down into a synopsis and still maintain that special something that makes your story stand out from the crowd. Judging from your awesome query, I think you've got this well in hand. Hope you're having an awesome week! :D

  4. Am I the only writer that doesn't also knit/crochet? Haha. Guess I need to learn!

  5. Here's to the Year of Becky!

    Uuugh, chest infections are horrid. Feel better soon :D

    That query sounds perfect to me. Good luck! This is your year. Go for it!

  6. Love the gifs!
    I'll read if you need someone. I offered to read another as well and don't know when it will be coming my way, but I can definitely read yours as well- it sounds great. :)

  7. I know what you mean about writing quiet stories. Every now and then I get myself into a huge panic because my writing isn't 'epic' enough, but I enjoy writing stories that are quieter and subtler. :)

    Ooo, I'd love to read your WIP - it sounds amazing!

    I hope you're feeling better soon, have a great week!

  8. I read AUDREY, WAIT thanks to Tracey's recommendation too! It's fantastic -- legitimately funny, which I don't say about many books. Also, I LOVE everything you said about Sara Zarr's writing. She is one of my favorites, and I think she and authors like Elizabeth Scott and Lisa Schroeder are sadly under-hyped because their books are on the "quiet" side. They've got so much emotional impact, though, which is why I adore them. Also, I was totally smiling as I read about The Year of Becky and your ass-kicking heels. Go, girl!

  9. Okay, I was also distracted by Charlie Hunnam...


    Your WIP sounds awesome - let me know if you need another reader b/c I love YA contemp.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  10. I LOVE quiet stories, so don't let anyone try to tell you to fill it with massacres and violence and girls throwing things (yes, that actually just happened to me). I love the gifs too! Have a great one!

  11. 6" inch heels. I don't even wear 3". You're a brave woman. :)

    If you need another reader, I'd be willing too. But I've got two I'm doing right now, so it wouldn't be for at least a month I'd guess until I could do it. Let me know though.

  12. I was going to say something witty and amazing, but lost it when I saw the photo of Charlie Hunnam. Because wow. Just... Wow. I have nothing intelligent to say after that.

    *goes back to ogling photo*

    Oh! But I do love Susan Dennard's stuff on EVERYTHING - query letters, synopsis-writing - she's brilliant and I <3 that she's so generous with her knowledge.

    And if you are still looking for a reader, I would LOVE to read your amazing-sounding book for you. LalalalalalalaLOVE. So if you still need someone, let me know!