Thursday, January 30, 2014

Update: Giving Myself Permission To Write it didn't go as planned. I guess I'm not quite ready to take up this advice. I started looking at my draft, and it's a mess.

There are scenes still written in third person pov/past tense, current scenes written in first person pov/present tense, scenes that have been planned but are unwritten, and gaping plot holes. Not to mention I still have no idea how this will end (okay, I have have some ideas - too many - that's the problem).

I've decided that the best way to clean this up is to move through the draft scene by scene from the beginning until all the scenes are written and updated, this time without looking back at scenes once I complete them.

Then I can read the first draft completely and figure out what issues need to be fixed.

The article still did some good though: it pushed me to start working on my draft again, something I haven't done in about a week.

Well, off to write!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday - Delirium, Please Understand Me II, A Light in the Attic, A Different Mirror for Young People, Black Ants and Buddhists, and The Writing Workshop

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

What I love the most about this book is the amount of poetic language it contains. I'm sad that I have less time to read now because I really want to know what happens!

Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey

I'm reading this book because Jeff Gerke recommends it (in his book Plot Versus Character) for finding your character's core personality and developing that personality further. It talks about the four personality types included in the Myers-Briggs test. I've also always loved all things psychology, so I find it extremely interesting. 

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Still reading a few of these poems each night! To really enjoy poetry I have to read it out loud, and that takes quite a bit longer. 

And of course, there are the teaching books:

A Different Mirror For Young People by Ronald Takaki

 Black Ants and Buddhists by Mary Cowhey

 The Writing Workshop by Katie Wood Ray

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Giving Myself Permission To Write

This blog post from Writer Unboxed couldn't have come at a better time.
"I rode on the write-edit-write-edit carousel, which meant a year later I was still plotting out my story while editing at the same time. This might work for some, but it stalled my progress. I was caught in an endless loop that meant I wrote at a snail’s pace.
In order to write that fast I had to learn to get the story, and only the story, down. When I hit a patch that my internal snail frothed to focus on, I made a note and kept going. It was freeing.
The drafts of my story became easier to write when I could assign their purpose. First draft: get my crazy ideas on paper; second and third drafts: edit and refine."
I have been stuck in this endless "write-edit-write-edit" loop as well for the past few months, and it took this blog post dumping a bucket of icy water over my head to jolt me out of it.

Why can't I give myself permission to write?

I know my characters aren't developed enough yet, and I know there are plot holes. But I think that at the moment it's more important for me to finish an entire first draft than it is to get the existing parts closer to per***t.

Tonight, I'm giving myself permission to write the next scene in TGITP (not to continue rewriting one of the scenes from the beginning). To hold myself to this promise, I'll update soon with how it went.

"Snow" Day!

I know I haven't been updating as much since my classes started, but I have a little spare time today because the ice and "snow" in Austin has caused a rare snow day for the city!

For those of you in Texas who are enjoying this day off with me, stay safe!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday - Delirium, The Transfer, Plot Versus Character, A Light in the Attic, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and A Corner of the Universe

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Ohhhh myyyyy goddddd. Even though the first chapter of this book technically broke the rule about dumping background info it was amazing. I had a really hard time finding a place to stop last night so I could get some sleep. 

The Transfer by Veronica Roth

This is a short story, so really I've already finished it. I loved getting to see more of Four's background and psyche. 

Plot Versus Character by Jeff Gerke

I can't wait to finish this book so that I can work back through it and really flesh out my characters and plot.

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

I'm working on a poetry unit with a fourth grade class right now, so I've been getting back into the poetry I loved when I was young. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (audio)

Finally got this one back! I listened to it in the car on the way to class this morning; best way to wake up in my opinion, besides coffee. 

A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin (audio)

I'm taking a break on this one now that I have Harry Potter back!

The Shoe Test

I found some great revision advice today on Janet Reid's blog. It's called "the shoe test"
I've been reading manuscripts for the last few days and a recurring foible is what I now call "the shoe test."
Example: "She wore six-inch slingbacks on her feet."
Where else is she going to wear them? Her head?
Go through your manuscript sentence by sentence to make sure you're not "wearing shoes on your feet." You might be delightfully surprised by how much more lean and elegant your prose is.
This is definitely something I've noticed in my own writing; I'll be keeping an eye out for it in future revisions.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Reading Bingo - Allegiant

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

A book with a one-word title. 
The last book of a trilogy. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What Does TK Mean?

I was reading a post today, 10 Rule for Rewriting History, when I came across this sentence:
Since I had no idea how to fly a B-25, I initially used terms like “gas pedal [TK]” and “steering stick [TK]” as temporary placeholders.
Because I've just recently left the isolation of my word documents and ventured into the online world of writers and agents and publishing, I wondered, what does TK mean?

Of course I googled it right away, and one of the first results was The Two Words That Will Help You Write Faster.

For those who don't know, TK means "to kum" (to come). You write TK in your draft next to something that needs to be looked up or checked later, in order to avoid pausing the writing process to look it up right then. It should be a useful tool for me as I continue writing the first draft of my WIP.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Reading Bingo - The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

A book with a mystery.
A book with an incredible fight scene. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday - Allegiant, Plot Versus Character, The Hundred Dresses, and A Corner of the Universe

 Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Since The Maze Runner kept me up hours after I was supposed to be asleep two nights ago, I'm hesitant to start Allegiant in the middle of the week. However, I don't think I can resist. Unfortunately, part of the ending has already been spoiled for me because of a careless comment on Instagram, so I'm a little bummed about that. 

Plot Versus Character by Jeff Gerke

I can already tell I'm going to have to reread this book slowly with a notebook to really delve into my main character's psyche, with all the different facets of character building Jeff points out. Still, I wish he had provided more examples for some of the things he mentioned (for those of us plot-first writers). 

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

I'm reading this book with my 3rd grade class (I'm a student teacher). There was one line in the first chapter, "They had waited and waited for Wanda—to have some fun with her," that prompted a lot of discussion. We talked about what the author really meant by this line, and that she was trusting the reader to infer that Wanda probably wasn't having fun. 

A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin

I'm listening to this on audiobook. I was in the middle of Harry Potter when my library loan expired (sadface) so I checked this one out to listen to until I'm off the holds list and can finish Harry. I remember reading this book when I was young (I was nine when it was published), and I remember liking it a lot, but for the life of me I can't remember what happens. So far I'm very taken by the main character's voice; it stands out. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Reading Bingo!

So I've decided to take Random House's Reading Bingo Challenge (both regular and YA) in 2014! Each time I finish a book I'll update which square it's checked off. My goal is to "black out" both boards by December 31st. 

These are the books (Free Four is really a short story, but I'm going to count it) that I've finished so far in 2014:

Free Four: A book with a number in the title; A book you heard about online. 

Legend: A book written by someone under thirty; A book without a love triangle. 

The First 50 Pages: A book you heard about online. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday - The Maze Runner, The First 50 Pages, Free Four, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Divergent

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I just started this one, so I'm still completely confused, but I like the writing style so far!

The First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke

Mmm, I do love me some writing advice. I seem to consume these books faster than any others. This book has given me a lot to think about in terms of my WIP, and I can't wait to get another one of Jeff's books, Plot Versus Character, to see what insights it has for the development of my protagonist.

Free Four by Veronica Roth

I also read this short story a few days ago. It was extremely interesting to read a scene from Divergent in a different perspective, and it gave me an idea. Though TGITP is only told from my protagonist's POV, it might be helpful for me to write some key scenes from other characters' POVs in order to get some new insights into them and into what's going on around them.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

I haven't done much driving in the past few days (darn wisdom teeth) so I'm still working on this audio book. I expect I'll start going through these much faster when school starts again next week (hellooo commuting).

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Still re-reading this one slowly!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I Liked My Wisdom Teeth Better When They Were Inside My Mouth

Just an update on why I haven't posted in awhile: I got my wisdom teeth removed on the 3rd. Since then it's been difficult to write at all, whether that be TGITP or this blog, but I'm slowly feeling better!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Road Trip Wednesday #211: Diversity In Your Reading

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments. 

I don't have any fancy charts, but here's the list of books I read this year:

P.S. *** means that this is a book I've read before. 

What I'm Reading Wednesday - Legend, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Divergent

Okay, I know it's Thursday, but yesterday was New Year's Day so I took a break!

Legend by Marie Lu

I've heard a lot about this book, and I always like to read a new dystopian novel, so I'm excited for this one! The two perspectives are already intriguing me.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

I've (obviously) read this one before, but not in a long time so it's perfect for listening to in the car!

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Still re-reading this one slowly!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My 2014 Resolutions

Unsurprisingly, 4 of my 5 resolutions this year relate to writing.

Resolution #1: Finish TGITP

Resolution #2: Query at least one agent

Resolution #3: Attend a conference or workshop and give someone a business card

Resolution #4: Read 52 books. (Unless 5 are the GOT series, aka what happened to me in 2013)

Resolution #5: (This is somewhat of a given) Graduate college.