Adventures in Reduxes, Step 1: Deconstruction

Hey, sweet readers. Either we’ve known each other for awhile or we’re planning on the sticking it out for the long haul, yes? So I might as well be honest with you. I need to tell you three things right now: 1. I’m a pantser, (which you might have known.)2.  But I hate that about myself, (which you probably didn’t know.)3. I am LAZY. (which, if you’ve been paying attention at all, you definitely knew.) So, what does a lazy pantser do when she wants to write with an outline but doesn’t actually want to write an outline? She writes a redux. It makes perfect sense! You can just take a story you love, change some details to put it in a different setting, or a different universe, or add some aliens, or change someone’s gender, and BAM! Awesome story! Outlined for you! Just write it! SO EASY. Right? So very very not even close to right. I’m currently working on a Bible story redux and an Austen redux, and the first thing I’m learning is that the first step in any redux is perhaps the most counterintuitive – Separate yourself from the story. This was so, so tough. I’m doing this redux because I love the story. LOVE it. But in order to do this redux right, I had to first tear myself away from making gaga eyes at it so that I could completely critically rip that sucker apart. These are all issues I’ll be exploring in subsequent posts, but questions like: What was the original pacing of the story? How does it need to be changed...

Friday Obsessions: Yo-Yo Ma, Blogging Ahead, and Peeta’s Bread

Happy Friday, sweet readers!   It’s actually been a pretty decent week! I mean, I’m still in the query trenches, but I didn’t have to eat any trench rats this week (translation: nothing made me cry) so we’re calling that a WIN. In less pleasant news, my ankles are the size of my head. The upshot is that I pretty much have to sit on the couch with my feet up at the end of the day. Which means my WiP did not suffer for word-count this week.  Another WIN. Anyway. Enough about me. Let’s get on with talking about my obsessions.(I know, I know. Self-centered, etc. But it’s my blog, you see?)Everything I was obsessed with this week. Because I know you want to know.  1. Yo-Yo Ma. Very little makes me emotional, music-wise. The things that most get to me are my MS’s playlists (duh) and then artists like Yo-Yo Ma, who is an unquestionable MASTER in his field, and plays so beautifully. His treatment of Bach’s cello suites is absolutely astounding, and definitely the music I listen to when I need that weird mix of neutral, calming, and energizing, all at the same time. But, you guys. There’s MORE. Watch this video of him playing. He’s an expert, yeah, but check out how HARD he works to nail a piece that he’s played a kajillion times – a piece that he’s famous for. You can just tell that he is trying so hard to get better – AS IF HE COULD GET BETTER – each and every time. This is inspirational, y’all. I only hope that I...

Friday Obsessions: Pinterest, Anita Diamant, and Hamantaschen

Happy Friday, everyone! Another week of non-awesome progress on the WiP, which I’m attributing to the 6-week homestretch of hosting this (non-alien, allegedly adorable) parasitic creature. I’m sleeping a lot of hours, but not sleeping very WELL, which is totally destroying my “wake-up-at-4:00-every-morning-and-write-like-a-motherf—er” strategy for getting anything done, you know, EVER. (And let’s not even talk about what a cruddy CP I’ve been.) It’s worth it, I know. It’s cool. *weeps* In other news, I’m calling this week “not bad at all” in the query trenches, which, of course, falls somewhere between “could be worse” and “only slightly anxious.” Let’s just continue to keep our fingers, toes, and possibly eyes crossed for good luck for ONE, hmmmm? Thanks. Yeah, okay. Let’s get on with the show.This week’s obsessions are a pretty even balance between super-girly and super-Jewy. You’ve been warned. Everything I was obsessed with this week.Because I know you want to know. 1. Pinterest. Yeah, yeah, it’s tired, I know. And to be fair, it’s only a minor obsession. I made a board for Chrome, and it always makes me sigh with the pretty. I’m gonna go ahead and recommend it as an amazing tool for all you writers out there who are visual like me. For example: I found these trees on Pinterest, which are now alllllll over Chrome City: 2. Anita Diamant. Okay. So, Anita Diamant wrote a bestselling book called THE RED TENT about 13 years ago that was a retelling, or fleshing-out, of a Bible story, which is kind of what I’m trying to do with Chrome (TRT is incredible, by the way, I...

A Different Story

So, as I have more than sufficiently whined on this blog, I’m having a tough time getting into the voice of the third WiP. Because I somehow felt that I hadn’t whined ENOUGH here on the blog, I also sent a whining email to Chessie. She said she knew how I felt, because it had happened to her when she was writing a character that didn’t think/talk/react like some of her others had. The characters that behaved more like her, she said, were easier to write. But those that didn’t were more of a challenge. Which is when it occurred to me – ONE’s main character thought about and reacted to things in a way that felt really familiar to me. This main character? Not so much. When I realized this, the rest of it came to me in a rush:Not only is the main character different – the entire book is different, you guys. I know. This probably should have been obvious to me before I started trying to write the darn thing. After all, here are the things I  knew about this book even before I started drafting: The main-main character undergoes a sudden and dramatic life change right the beginning. She has a character arc, of course, but the events that make it up are kind of crazy and tumultuous as opposed to quiet and steady. But that’s not all! The book actually has two main characters. The main love story is between the main character and a minor supporting character, and is tangential to the main plot. The story is futuristic sci-fi, and requires extensive worldbuilding. It...

Friday Obsessions: A Girl Who Reads, No Envy, No Fear, and Fountain Sodas

Happy Friday, sweet readers! It’s been another week of lows sprinkled with a couple of sparkly little highs in the query trenches. As I say, it could always be worse. Writing itself is going pretty slowly, I’m sad to say, and I’m looking for a voice-finding breakthrough to strike me this weekend. When I was drafting One, Merrin’s voice just flowed, and this one….? I know it’s in there somewhere, I just have to figure out how to get it from my brain into my heart, you know? My CPs have had some suggestions, and I’d love to hear yours- at this point, I’ll try anything. Anyway, that’s the update. Without further ado… Everything I was obsessed with this week.Because I know you want to know. 1. Spoken Poet Ryan Grist on a Girl Who Reads. (Warning: Begins and ends with a couple of slightly objectionable words for body parts. WORTH IT.) I don’t normally go for spoken word poetry, but this is AMAZING. Might make me reconsider. I know it’s annoying when people say “just watch the video,” but…just watch it. (I’ve hit “replay” at least 30 times this week.) Yum. 2. Joshua Radin’s No Envy, No Fear. Just another calming song for another tumultuous week. Plus, I like the idea – “No envy, no fear.” A good goal for a writer, even if I’m far, far from it. 3. Fountain Soda. Oh, fountain soda. Pop from a can is one thing, but there’s something about the way the fizzies diminish in just the right way and the ice so perfectly chills it that makes me OBSESSED with fountain...

Friday Obsessions: Imogen Heap, Pinterest, and Spiderman Trailer

Well, friends, it’s been a tough week in the querying trenches. (Which, as my CPs know, is a serious understatement.) So, I’m just gonna pretend the trenches don’t exist. Manuscript? What manuscript? Please join me in going to my happy place, as I bring you…. Everything I was obsessed with this week.Because I know you want to know.1. Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek”So, someone suggested this song as a calming thing for me last week. If you just sit back, crank it up, and let the sounds wash over you, it’s perfect for calm. But the lyrics are quite sad.I realized that it fits perfectly with a certain sequence of scenes in the WiP, and so I’ve begun to associate it with that mood – that of a tragic inevitability. Awesome. 2. PinterestNot so much an obsession as a happy discovery at the outset of this WiP. When I write, I’m really inspired by visuals, and so Pinterest is AMAZING – You can pin All The Pretty Things up on one board! That you can access anywhere! It basically lets me paint the scenes of my WiP for reference any time, anywhere, and has already been invaluable. (Check out my board for Chrome. Awesome.) 3. The Spiderman TrailerI’m just psyched for this movie summer in general, but oh man oh man. Spiderman. The wit! The drama! ANDREW FREAKING GARFIELD. Ahem. Just watch it. (Sorry. I can’t find one without an annoying ad before it.) Annnnnnd the WiP. I haven’t done very much good work on it, so you know what that means. I need some tough love. If you can...