What’s Up Wednesay – April 9th, 2014

WUW7I seem to be posting this every other Wednesday but let’s talk about What’s Up! Last week I posted a thing about what writers can learn from the HIMYM finale, but WordPress ate it (the jist was: pacing matters, what you focus on matters, lies are not twists, and emotional resonance matters). This has never happened before in all of my years of working with WordPress, so I assume I hit something while playing with blog’s theme, but I’m still sad about it. Alas.

WHAT I’M READING

I’m listening to the second audiobook of the Mara Dyer series and it’s so good. Sadly I only get to listen in snippets and clips, a chapter or so at a time, but it’s very awesome. Christy Romano, who narrates, is fabulous. I’m also still finishingΒ  Unremembered by Jessica Brody and Liberty Bound by Faith McKay. I just need more hours to read. I have been sacrificing sleep a bit to do it and it’s still not enough!

WHAT I’M WRITING

Just turned in revisions. I’m still working on that draft of the YA UF although I’m now attempting to outline based on what I’ve got. In order to practice this new outlining method that seems to work for me (a combination of beat sheets and story quadrants) I outlined a entirely new project just for fun, like a “no pressure if this outline fails because it’s not a real thing!” sort of deal. It’s a YA Space Opera with fugitive princes and bad-ass lady bounty hunters, and I’m so excited about it. But I’m not technically writing it yet, since I have other things to finish first. It’s on deck, though, and I love it.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW20140327_152933 copy

SPRING IS COMING.

Seriously, it’s so much easier to write and work after my day job when I get home and it’s not pitch black outside an hour later.

Also, my new ability to actually outline makes me feel like I’m going to get a lot faster at writing my drafts/WIPs, instead of writing 15K and tossing it out and starting over again. I know outlines don’t work for everyone and if writing like mad and going back and outlining later works for you (as it has for me in the past), I saw hurrah! Go for it. The only right way to write is the way that works for you. Sadly, thanks to self-doubt and hesitation, it hasn’t been working for me. So being able to outline, even vaguely, where things are going makes it much easier for me to push through to the end of a draft. I thought it was easier for me to zero draft and then outline, but it turns out maybe it’s easier for me to outline roughly and start there (although maybe it just varies from project to project for me). WRITING! It’s constant learning!

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO

Getting ready for NorWesCon 37, April 17-20th, in Sea-Tac, WA. Highly recommend stopping by if you’re in the area. So many great panels about YA and literature and science fiction. I’m moderating two YA panels, as well as appearing on several others. I’ll have my full schedule posted here soon.

ALSO! I’m putting together a group blog for YA Writers/Authors (at any stage in their publication journey) at YA Spaceport. I’m looking for 5-7 YA writers to join me. πŸ˜€

34 Comments

  1. Alex Roque

    I need your space opera please that sounds so fun! XD

    Excited about your panels! And all the writing! You are awesome, you are.

    • I’m excited about the space opera too but I’m trying not to be because I have other things to write first. LOL.

      I AM TOO. ALSO SCARED. I will be up there with Real Authors. :/ Although mostly I’m just moderating, so it feels less like I’m an imposter in the ranks, you know? Hahaha.

      • Alex Roque

        You are just as real of a writer as they are! I doubt anyone would consider you an imposter or someone with less to bring to a discussion, you have tons of experience and things that people could learn from you! <3

  2. Emma Adams

    I outline all my books, because I learned the hard way that if I don’t, I end up having to rewrite the whole thing! It’s great that you’re finding a method that works for you. It really is a constant learning process! πŸ™‚

    • Yes! I’ve never outlined before. Most of finished stuff has taken seven drafts or so to get right because of it. I’ve tried every sort of outlining I could find, but nothing clicked until this. I feel like a giant weight’s off my shoulders. πŸ™‚

  3. I would love to learn more about the outlining method that is finally clicking for you. I’ve gone back and forth too… drafting. getting stuck. outlining. getting stuck. back to drafting. In all that, I’ve concluded that an outline is pretty critical, but that I need to fit some drafting in along the way to keep the ideas flowing and to keep the project alive. My outlining has been in a spreadsheet, where I made a row for each scene, and am filling in key details, a summary, the twist or reveal, the conflict, setting, characters, etc. for each scene. It drains me but I don’t think i will get to the end without some sort of plan. Have a good writing week!

    • It’s so frustrating, right? Argh. Your outlining doesn’t sound far off of what I’m doing, although I’m not going scene by scene (am not at that level of outlining before drafting yet). Basically it’s just the inciting incident, the first part (showing the protag at rest/work and then the change) and what happens, and going through each quarter. The mid-point, the climax, the end. I’m a VAGUE OUTLINER right now. But I’m still learning, too.

  4. I would love to learn more about the outlining method that is finally clicking for you. I’ve gone back and forth too… drafting. getting stuck. outlining. getting stuck. back to drafting. In all that, I’ve concluded that an outline is pretty critical, but that I need to fit some drafting in along the way to keep the ideas flowing and to keep the project alive. My outlining has been in a spreadsheet, where I made a row for each scene, and am filling in key details, a summary, the twist or reveal, the conflict, setting, characters, etc. for each scene. It drains me but I don’t think i will get to the end without some sort of plan. Have a good writing week!

    • It’s so frustrating, right? Argh. Your outlining doesn’t sound far off of what I’m doing, although I’m not going scene by scene (am not at that level of outlining before drafting yet). Basically it’s just the inciting incident, the first part (showing the protag at rest/work and then the change) and what happens, and going through each quarter. The mid-point, the climax, the end. I’m a VAGUE OUTLINER right now. But I’m still learning, too.

  5. Your mention of HIMYM made me want to find out how it all ended. Yes, I totally just spoiled myself on the series on purpose. I can’t believe that’s how it ended. Hmm.

    I’m definitely an outliner when it comes to writing. Even if it’s a bit vague it’s still better than nothing at all, in my experience. I’ve tried to pants my way through part of a draft and it just doesn’t work for me. But, like you say, whatever works for you is best. I’m happy you found something that is working for you. And how great that you have another story idea brewing. It sounds awesome! (I’m totally into YA space operas.) Have a wonderful week, Tori!

    • It’s not even how they ended things so much as how they executed it. It was just really crappy writing/pacing.

      Have a great week, too!

  6. Your mention of HIMYM made me want to find out how it all ended. Yes, I totally just spoiled myself on the series on purpose. I can’t believe that’s how it ended. Hmm.

    I’m definitely an outliner when it comes to writing. Even if it’s a bit vague it’s still better than nothing at all, in my experience. I’ve tried to pants my way through part of a draft and it just doesn’t work for me. But, like you say, whatever works for you is best. I’m happy you found something that is working for you. And how great that you have another story idea brewing. It sounds awesome! (I’m totally into YA space operas.) Have a wonderful week, Tori!

    • It’s not even how they ended things so much as how they executed it. It was just really crappy writing/pacing.

      Have a great week, too!

  7. I haven’t read the Mara Dyer series yet, is it worth picking up?

    That new project sounds like so much fun! πŸ˜€ I love the sound of some bad-ass lady bounty hunters.

    Have a lovely week!

    • I really love the Mara Dyer series so far. I don’t know what I expected but it’s been a really entertaining read! If you like paranormal stuff that’s not super urban fantasy (more magical realism) you should definitely check it out.

      Yes, bad-ass ladies are the best!

      You as well! ^_^

  8. I still haven’t gotten the hang of outlining – I’m definitely a pantser, at least for my first drafts (which turn out to be glorified outlines, basically).

    I’m only halfway through HIMYM and didn’t have strong feelings, so I spoiled it for myself. Not even sure I want to finish it now that it’s ended like that. Sigh.

    • There’s nothing wrong with pantsing a quick draft if that’s what works for you! I really hate people who say you ‘must’ outline because 1) there are a million ways to outline, so which one is supposedly mandatory anyhow? and 2) some people really just can’t, it doesn’t work for them, and there’s no reason to make them feel bad about that.

      My problem is that pantsing hasn’t been working for me like it used to, but my outlines are very loose and malleable. πŸ™‚

      Yeah, the ending was… a hot mess. It badly done, poorly paced, and made very little sense given everything that came before it. The opposite of the ending you want!

  9. I still haven’t gotten the hang of outlining – I’m definitely a pantser, at least for my first drafts (which turn out to be glorified outlines, basically).

    I’m only halfway through HIMYM and didn’t have strong feelings, so I spoiled it for myself. Not even sure I want to finish it now that it’s ended like that. Sigh.

    • There’s nothing wrong with pantsing a quick draft if that’s what works for you! I really hate people who say you ‘must’ outline because 1) there are a million ways to outline, so which one is supposedly mandatory anyhow? and 2) some people really just can’t, it doesn’t work for them, and there’s no reason to make them feel bad about that.

      My problem is that pantsing hasn’t been working for me like it used to, but my outlines are very loose and malleable. πŸ™‚

      Yeah, the ending was… a hot mess. It badly done, poorly paced, and made very little sense given everything that came before it. The opposite of the ending you want!

  10. Your outline sounds great. Any hints. I have tried a few ways but they don’t always work. I haven’t quite found a way that works for me yet. Have a great week.

    • Outlining is really hard! The only way that works for me is to not to be too rigid about it. Basically, a friend in a writer’s group I go to developed this method of dividing your story into four parts (the set-up & inciting incident, the reaction and failure, the regroup and retry where stakes are raised and then the climax, and finally, the resolution.) Instead of worrying about scene by scene (but still allowing yourself to add in scenes you want), just worry about hitting the big beats in the story.

      Maybe I’ll see if she’ll write up a blog post about it and link to it! She’s better at explaining it than I am.

      Also Jami Gold has a ton of different beat sheets to start with and play with: jamigold.com/for-writers/worksheets-for-writers/

  11. Your outline sounds great. Any hints. I have tried a few ways but they don’t always work. I haven’t quite found a way that works for me yet. Have a great week.

    • Outlining is really hard! The only way that works for me is to not to be too rigid about it. Basically, a friend in a writer’s group I go to developed this method of dividing your story into four parts (the set-up & inciting incident, the reaction and failure, the regroup and retry where stakes are raised and then the climax, and finally, the resolution.) Instead of worrying about scene by scene (but still allowing yourself to add in scenes you want), just worry about hitting the big beats in the story.

      Maybe I’ll see if she’ll write up a blog post about it and link to it! She’s better at explaining it than I am.

      Also Jami Gold has a ton of different beat sheets to start with and play with: jamigold.com/for-writers/worksheets-for-writers/

  12. prerna pickett

    The Mara Dyer series is AMAZING! I can’t wait for Retribution! Congrats on turning in revisions. And I’m so happy Spring is finally coming around, quite inspiring to watch the world bloom with life πŸ™‚

    • YES, it’s so, so good. I love it.

      And yeah, it’s nice to watch things bloom. πŸ™‚ My allergies disagree but that’s what allegra is for.

  13. prerna pickett

    The Mara Dyer series is AMAZING! I can’t wait for Retribution! Congrats on turning in revisions. And I’m so happy Spring is finally coming around, quite inspiring to watch the world bloom with life πŸ™‚

    • YES, it’s so, so good. I love it.

      And yeah, it’s nice to watch things bloom. πŸ™‚ My allergies disagree but that’s what allegra is for.

  14. I agree with you about the extra daylight – it’s easier to do EVERYTHING when it’s not pitch black an hour after I get home from my day job. πŸ™‚ The space opera sounds amazing. Have a great week!

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