Monday, September 28, 2015
1.) What's your current WIP about?
2.) How do you decide when an idea has enough legs to turn it into a manuscript?
3.) A relationship with your WIP can be complicated. What kinds of feelings do you have as you work through writing your first draft. Give us the good, the bad, and the ugly.
4.) Anything else you want to share about your current WIP?
And now to the bloggers for answers! Feel free to add your own answers in the comments section.
1) I'm currently revising what I fully expect will be a very intense ghost story.
2) New ideas usually take a good amount of time to develop before I feel ready to take them on. I'll keep track of notes and ideas related to it, and when it gets enough momentum for me to have a solid overview of what the story will be like, I'll start working on it.
3) I love those moments when I reach the flow state, and everything comes so quick and effortless I feel like I can't do anything wrong. I'm not as fond of the times when I'm plodding through a problem and for the life of me can't find a way to make it work.
4) My WIP began as a short story close to twenty years ago and has gradually evolved in on and off spurts ever since. I'd call it a good example of why the ideas a writer feels strongly about should never be completely abandoned.
1) My current WIP is a YA about a guy who catfishes his entire school with a blog he's forced to create for his political sciences class.
2) If I can come up with one line for each plotpoint outline (10%, 25%, 50%, and 75%) then I start writing.
3) I expect my outline to change. A lot. I'm a plantser, so I never get married to an idea while I write. I always have a roller coaster of emotions, from I LOVE THIS to WHY AM I EVEN BOTHERING. By now I'm used to it. :)
1) My current WIP is a MG about a dragon changeling who doesn't want anything to do with her dragon side.
2) Usually when the idea can't leave my head and I have enough of an outline to keep moving forward. I almost never know exactly how a book will end when I start it, but if I know what comes next and after that and even a little beyond, that's usually a sign I have enough to help me write and learn about the characters and this story. As I progress through more of the later parts of the story become more clear until I finally know how things will end.
3) When I first get an idea there's usually a feeling of excitement, especially for those ideas that I'm able to turn into manuscripts. But as I write and get beyond the initial excitement the fear sets in. What if this isn't good enough? Why does this WIP suck so much? But as I plow through and get toward the end, I start to get excited again about finishing another story. And even more excited about getting to rip it apart during edits and make it that much better.
4) Current WIP stage, why does this suck so much. **KEEPS PLOWING THROUGH**
1) my current WIP is a contemporary romance set it Haiti. I am loving getting deep into that setting because it's one that's close to my heart!
2) I always do 3 things before commit to writing the full thing. 1. Plot, even if it's just mentally. I need to have an idea of where I'm going and if it has enough meat to be a full novel (I write short) 2. Write a query for it. Even if I never use the query it's really important for me to have a full grasp of the tone and purpose of the story first 3. Write the first chapter. This helps get an idea of the voice and characters and I always learn something new. Once I do those three things and the idea still excites me I'm ready to go.
3) I'm always super excited about it at first (otherwise I wouldn't be writing it). Then I start getting into the lag bits. Not always because the story is not exciting but because writing consistently is tedious. I quite often forget my passion for the story and consider giving up. I don't usually get the "omg this sucks" mentality, just a "is this really worth it?" "I want to write that other shiney book idea..." I have to push myself through to finishing a draft and at the end I have a mix of "What the heck is this thing? How in the world will I fix it?" And "YAY I FINISHED."
4) I'm writing a book on contract so my motivation is higher but so is my anxiety. "What if they don't like it?" And worse: "What if I don't end up liking it but have to let them publish it anyway?"
1) Current WIP is about a kid accompanying his father on a hunt for a missing Easter Island tribe, only to become trapped on the island they've vanished to.
2) Only way I'm able to determine if my idea is able to transform into a novel is if I can think of a legitimate, beginning, middle, and ending. Then I'll try to write up a quick synopsis to see if I can add enough filler, development, and plot twists to justify at least 50k words lol.
3) It usually starts off like "HOLY SHNIKEY this is the best thing I've ever written" - it's like what Ian Malcom said in Jurassic Park..Oooh, ahhh, that's how it starts. Then there's the running..and screaming. Yup, that's how it is. By the time I'm finished with my first draft, I love it..then i go back into it..and I hate it...then it's hours upon hours of endless editing that makes my head explode. If I'm lucky, I'll still love it after all that.
4) It'll be on submission in another month, and I'm pooping bricks
1) My current WIP is, terrifyingly, a series. A fantasy series. I've never written a series before, and I've never written a fantasy before, so I'm doing WAY more pre-writing prep than I've ever done (I'm generally a total pantser). It's been kind of scary, but a lot of fun and great brain exercise. I can't wait to see how it turns out.
2) I wish I had an answer to that! Stories usually sit in my head for a LONG time...my first book bumped around up there for a couple of years before I wrote it, and this new series has been on my mind for a couple of years as well. Other times, though, I've started a manuscript a week after the idea occurred to me. I guess when it's ready, it's ready!
3) Like most writers, my reaction to my own writing is fairly schizophrenic. I love it, then I despise it, then I'm totally numb to it...sometimes all within five minutes! Generally, though, during the drafting phase I'm riding a wave of euphoria interrupted by occasional sinkholes of crippling insecurity. During revision that dynamic reverses: I mostly feel like it just might be irredeemable garbage, with scattered moments of thinking I may have gold in my hands if I polish it enough. So, yeah, I'm just generally a wreck.
4) Right now, my predominant feeling toward my WIP is gratitude. I've been feeling a lot of stress in other areas of my life lately, and I've been loving the escape of slipping away and diving into my WIP. It's been a wonderful little refuge, and I'm happy I have it.
1) I'm at an odd time for me. I have no current WIP (at least, not one in drafting stage). Instead, I'm working on revisions to two separate projects at the moment. One is about a unusual girl solving the mystery of a jewel heist with the help of her best friend, the town Sheriff's son. The other is about <redacted>.
2) I never really know until I finish it and let someone else read it. When they (hopefully) tell me it's not crap, I start to believe.
3) I go through the usual writer phases when drafting: THIS IS AWESOME. THIS IS CRAP. THIS IS AWESOME! Then, after I'm finished with the draft and some revisions, there's also some "Well, I like this...I hope someone else does too".
4) OMGOSH I'm SOOOO excited about it! It's <redacted>!
Monday, September 21, 2015
If you didn't already know this, WIP = Work in Progress. But what does that really mean? What actually constitutes a work in progress? Is it just drafting, or does it include reaching a certain word count goal in your draft before you can award it that WIP title? Can you still consider something in progress if it's been shelved for a number of months, or years? Is progress being made on something if you haven't written the first word?
I think it all depends on what you consider progress. In the teaching game, progress is everything. Students come at you with so many varying abilities, and what you want most for them is to see that, regardless of what starting point they showed up with on the first day, they're continually improving. This might mean huge leaps for some and gradual steps for others, but as long as they're making progress you know things are going in the right direction.
As for me, I consider a writing project an official Work in Progress as soon as I've decided to commit time to seeing it completed. The problem is, this means I've got several works in progress happening at any given time, and juggling them requires an extra layer of management to keep that progress going with any of them.
Right now I've got five projects I would consider being in the WIP rotation. One of them is in a holding pattern since there really isn't much else I can do with it at the moment, but that's likely to change, eventually. Another one is in the first position for my work time now, since I'm working through what I hope is one of the last revision passes for it. Two others are little more than gestating collections of notes, actively competing against each other to see which one will get to be drafted next when my current revision project is finished. And the fifth is mostly an idea at this point, but every time it crosses my mind it gets to be a little more real and a little more intriguing. These days I'm toying with the idea of making it my NaNoWriMo project for this year, just to see where it goes (provided my current revision work is making enough progress to allow me to pause for a month and take on NaNo again).
So, as you can see, there's quite a bit going on here. To say nothing of my day job.
Some writers struggle with waiting for the next idea to come along, while others can't decide which one is next up in line. If you're one of the people in that second group, this is a lucky problem to have, but it's still a problem nonetheless. Trying to write four or five different things at the same time could easily produce four or five marginal manuscripts instead of the one really good one that might have happened with more focused time management. I don't see anything wrong about working out several ideas at once. If you can make that work inside of your process, it might even prove to be a benefit. But I think it's important to remember not to spread yourself too thin. You can't always chase after the prettiest, newest ideas that come along just because they seem like more fun than the one you've already put so much time and energy into. If you have a project in front of you that you believe in and you want to bring to life, keep at it. Keep making that progress, no matter how gradual it might be. As long as something is happening with it, it's still alive, and it still gets to keep that WIP title.
Because the great thing about a WIP? That 'P' part means you can keep working on it right up until the day it stops being a "Work in Progress" and shifts over to "Writing is Published." Until that happens, you can do whatever you want with it, and work at whatever pace you need.
Friday, September 18, 2015
As a rule, I’m not usually the chattiest guy in the cocktail party.
Wait, no, I take that back. I’ve never been to a cocktail party.
So, well, I’m not the chattiest guy at any party. In fact, at the middle school dance, lo, the many years ago, the odds of finding me with my back super-glued to the wall – or preferably one of those mats hanging on the walls at each end of the gym, because, HELLO, WAAAAY more comfortable to lean on than painted cinder block (especially for two hours) – were a fool’s bet. The room would have had to be on fire before I’d have considered separating myself from my chosen post.
And not just, like, a little on fire, either. It would have had to have been your basic Hellmouth kind of situation where a portal to the Underworld ruptured, spreading demons and launching brimstone among my Airheads-fueled schoolmates. Since I didn’t live in Sunnydale, that didn’t happen.
The point here is that, like many of the writers who’ve I’ve met since starting my word-fueled journey, I’m a deep-rooted introvert. Admittedly, somehow an introvert that’s still sort of attention-seeking, but an introvert nonetheless.
Of course, there are a lot of way to interpret that. For me, though, introversion feels like to not wanting to be on. That is, the spotlight is not for me.
The center of attention might as well be the End of the World.
In other words, I’m not always comfortable talking about myself or my life with people I don’t know like family.
When it comes to writing that goes double, especially when getting into details about my work(s) in progress. I have to follow an idea to completion, dot the I’s, cross the t’s, and weigh it in my mind before I want to talk about the ins and outs of the story or characters. Afterwards, I send it out with the proverbial shaking hands for beta readers to consume, assess, and comment on. Until then, I won’t even speak a project’s name in public. In fact, every new WIP I start working on gets a code name to keep it soft, cream-filled secrets hidden under a dark, billowy cloak.
Well, okay, so it’s partially the “secrets” and the “dark, billowy cloak” thing. Let’s be honest…my manuscripts aren’t exactly Nazgûl that need their identities to remain hidden until the approved time. Fact is, I also use project codenames because I’m a huge nerd and enjoy nerding things up as much as humanly possible. After all, writing is a hard enough business. I say we do what we can to squeeze some fun out of it whenever possible, even if means giving my work a silly code name. I mean, this is middle grade. If you can’t find a way to have some fun with that, you’d maybe be better off assessing tax schedules or insurance riders.
Oh, what’s that you said? You’d love to hear a few secret details about my current WIP? Since we’re super tight buddies, and all? You even swear not to tell?
Well, I suppose I could tell you something. Just one or two little tidbits.
Here it is…
Now, listen carefully…
Have a great weekend and don’t forget to have a little fun with your work in progress while you’re at!
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Title: I Love Him, I Love Him Not (Westgate Prep #2)
Author: Ella Martin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 237 pages
Publication date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Clean Reads/Astraea Press
My rating: 5 / 5
Talia Nicoletti’s life has been turned upside down–and that’s probably an understatement. Her mother goes off on a business trip… and comes back married! Her estranged father wants to be less estranged. And her best friend Jake DeSantos suddenly has a new confidante who Talia doesn’t want to like but kind of does anyway.
Talia has to unravel her tangled up emotions to figure out what she really wants. Does she want to accept her father back in her life? Can she trust her new-stepfather? There’s too much hitting Talia at once, and she’s not ready to deal with any of it. The one person she can always turn to is Jake, and he’s being secretive and isn’t exactly available. And that hurts her more than she thought possible.
Talia prides herself on keeping her emotions in check and hates that she’s jealous of the new girl in Jake’s life, especially since she can’t decide if she loves him … or if she loves him not.