Writing Wednesday – Week 9

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Welcome, one and all, to this week’s Writing Wednesday! This is going to be a very brief post compared to last week.

Speaking of last week, do you remember how my character, Ryder, took over, which led me to writer’s block? (In case you don’t/didn’t see it, Ryder told me to come up with some major back story to the magic in the form of legends.) WELL, I managed to come up with a pretty darn good legend, if I do say so myself. I’m so proud of my brain for coming up with it. I had trouble coming up with something, so I LITERALLY just started writing “Once upon a time…” and let the words flow. I do so well when I don’t plan things! Care for a quick sneak peek from the WIP?

Once upon a time, there had been another world—Ripple. It was earth, but it wasn’t the earth we know it as, not yet anyway. There were no plants, animals, or humans, just weather.

Writer’s block cured with some fun, yet completely relevant, free writing.

On another note, the rejections are still gradually rolling in. (This brings my total rejections to date to 9.) I didn’t send my queries out all on the same day, so I should be hearing back from people for another month. I had researched agents, tried to write my first sentence specifically for them, and then sent a letter. Researched, rewrote, sent. That was the cycle. But today’s rejection was different, more positive. The agent said I should query again with another MS if the current one doesn’t work out. 😀 So I’m going to float on that encouragement through the process. Still a rejection, but better than the others so far.

That’s all for this week. Happy reading/writing to you, and hopefully I’ll be back to blather about writing life next week!

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Writing Wednesday – Week 8

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HAPPY WRITING WEDNESDAY! (Clearly, I’m excited about it this week.) I have a few things to share. Characters taking over. Querying. Organization. Research.

 

Characters taking over

In writing, sometimes characters have a mind of their own. Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a step back.

Some people are planners, outlining every little single moment in their book, which is cool. I commend those people. In reality, I am the kind of person who likes to be two steps ahead. But in writing, I can’t really do that. I have a general outline of the bigger picture, but I have no idea what will happen in my next few chapters. I might be able to tell you what will happen in the upcoming chapter, if that.

My characters act, and events unfold. It’s like observing other people and then recording it. UNFORTUNATELY, sometimes my characters go places that my brain hasn’t been to yet (in places, plot, etc.). This has happened to me before, where a character takes the reins and leads the way. Usually I’m all in for adventuring with my characters into new territory. BUT other times, it screws me, the writer, over. MY CHARACTERS ARE OUT OF CONTROL.

I can compare my situation to walking a dog. The dog walker has the leash, they control the dog, even though the dog might walk ahead of them. In my case, the dog has decided to run, and I’m holding onto the leash for dear life as he’s dragging me across the ground. (This has actually happened to me FYI!)

I have a character. His name is Ryder. Ryder decides he’s going to sneakily lead me astray. I’m innocently following him along and, all of a sudden, BAM! He screws me over. As I mentioned last week, my book borders on magical realism/fantasy. So Ryder says, “Hey, let’s share the history of this magical stuff! Isn’t that a great idea?!” (His exact words were, “We’ll start with the legends.”) That is a fantastic idea…except I have no idea what the heck these legends are! Which means I am now stuck in a rut, trying to figure this out. (I should really have thought of this before starting my story, but, as I said, I am no planner.)

 

Querying

If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed my last couple of Tweets had something to do with querying.

Let’s review them, shall we?

 

I’m putting myself out there, and I just got my 6th rejection today! (That exclamation point is for excitement, not anger, just in case clarification is needed.) It’s sad, but I’ve known that I need to expect it, so I’m not crushed. It’s like dark chocolate: bitter sweet. I’m still hoping. 🙂

I even started writing my query for this next book, because I know I’ll get bogged down by the details later on.

 

Organization

12K words into my new book, and I’ve decided to create some character profiles (and some other little shortcuts for myself). EXCEL IS WONDERFUL. I’ve listed out some major characters and traits that might get lost as I get deeper into the story, like eye color. This actually gets annoying in consistency if I decide to change something later on, as I’ve learned with my finished MS.

It’s also fun. The “hobbies” column, for instance, gets me really thinking about my characters. What would they actually do in their free time? These characters are like my friends, so I better be the best BFF ever and really know how these characters tick.

 

Research

Last, but not least, I’m super excited about going to do research for an upcoming chapter. My characters are taking a field trip to the Spanish Monastery! Which means I’m taking a field trip! Technically, they were supposed to go a few chapters ago, but they had other things in mind. (I’m not going alone, so it depends on my friend’s schedule, but hopefully it happens before the next Writing Wednesday.) I’ll be taking pictures to share!

 

Well, that was a mouthful for this week. I hope everyone else’s week has been wonderful and that you are experiencing wonderful writing (whether your own or someone else’s)!

Adding Some Salt of My Own to “Salt to the Sea”

After seeing all the hype about Ruta Sepetys’s book, I decided that I wanted to add Salt to the Sea to my TBR. It moved up in the list when I saw my friend’s Goodreads status in which she was reading it and enjoying it. I requested it from the library (due to my book-buying ban) and finished within a day of it being in my possession.

Summary: Based on the actual sinking of the German Wilhelm Gustloff ship during WWII, this Screenshot 2016-07-13 01.27.12story tells the tale from four different point of views of young adults as they prepare for the journey, a blessing in their eyes, their salvation. Unfortunately, they could not have predicted the disaster to come and struggle to survive in the chaos.

I was prepared for this book to feel like the Titanic. I did my research on this disaster a while back and knew it was worse than the Titanic, but I had forgotten how much worse it was. Prepare for a gut-wrenching story. The majority of the book is a “before” of the disaster, so Ruta really gets you wrapped into the characters’ life.

Each person is in such a different circumstance with unique backstory. My favorite was Joana; my least favorite was Alfred (UGH). Ruta wrote him as intentionally annoying. (He reminded me a lot of Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice.) And I understand he provided a lot of the important historical facts, but I could not stand his chapters. He’s just a doofus. Though not a main character (he did not have his own chapters), I have to say I enjoyed Poet very much.

Regarding history, it’s a shame this story doesn’t have as much recognition as Titanic because so many innocent people lost their lives, and they deserve to be remembered. Now, we can at least remember through the eyes of Alfred, Joana, Florian, and Emilia.

But don’t despair! This story dishes up some hope as well. And that hope, when you see it really shines through and makes this story unforgettable. As it should be. Because of this book, it made me really appreciate my life and feel lucky that I get to be safe, healthy, and happy. A book that has an impact on the reader cannot be described as less than fantastic. That’s why stories exist, in my opinion. To reach out to others; to make a difference. And this book does that.

Ruta gets 4.8 out of 5 stars for her incredible storytelling.

Writing Wednesday – Week 7

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As promised, (finally committing to one of my promises on here! WOO!) for this week’s Writing Wednesday I’ll share some secrets about my current WIP.

  1. I’m 10K words in, and it feels like magical realism right now, but it very may well become fantasy. I’m not sure yet.
  2. It deals with emotional problems, like anxiety, depression, etc. (But there’s also some good emotional stuff as well.)
  3. Weather plays a big role. When it rains (in reality), that is prime writing time! It really gets me in the zone for the usually rainy settings I’ve got going in the book.
  4. There’s a certain clique (even though that word is typically negative, I mean it positively!) that I’m in love with. They’re all unique and real and sometimes funny. 🙂
  5. It takes place in the city I grew up/live in. So I have a lot of fun when I can mention actual places—it makes the characters come to life for me more.

I’ll close with this: A teaser sentence I posted to Twitter/Instagram with a picture that I’m very proud of taking, which is also relevant to the WIP.

There’s a storm brewing inside of you. All you need to do is catch it, and mold the power as your own. image

Writing Wednesday – Week 6

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It’s Writing Wednesday! And let me just put this out there: I suck terribly at keeping up with this. (I’ve been neglecting my blog very much this summer actually. *whispers: sorry, blog*) I realize it’s been well over a month since my last post. The main reason I suck is a positive one at least and has to do with this week’s Writing Wednesday.

Being on summer vacation, I’m taking advantage of the time I have to put all my focus into writing. So that means three things.

  1. I have been attending to comments left on my MS by my kind beta readers (who include my good friend/old roommate Carina-she’s been a rockstar!-and my sister plus her boyfriend). Mostly little things, but some big things that really needed to be pointed out to me.
  2. I have been researching agents and sending out queries. So far I’ve sent about 10. I went through a few round of edits on that letter, with help from Lori Goldstein and Laura Silverman. (I can’t thank them enough for their pointers!) Querying is so scary. I’m still sending out emails because I know this industry is filled with rejection, and I accept that.
  3. Due to the above statement, I realize my MS might not make it. SO, I’ve started on another novel. Basically, I’d forgone blog writing for WIP writing. If I’m not a terrible person and miss it, next Writing Wednesday I’ll share a little more about this WIP.

That’s all for this week! If anyone has any query tips and any personal experiences they wouldn’t mind sharing, I’m all ears!