Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hello from the Revision Cave

It's dark in here.

I knew my manuscript needed work, but I didn't realize how much.

So. Much.

It's funny, before I started writing seriously, back when I was just scribbling down stories for fun and only sharing them with a few people, I didn't realize how exhausting and arduous the editing process is. I thought it was just like the editing process we had in English class:

Step 1: The teacher reads what you've written and crosses out misspelled words, adds in punctuation marks you missed, etc.
Step 2: You write a new draft, incorporating those changes.
Step 3: You're done.


I had a conversation recently, in the past few months, with someone who thought the same thing. This person isn't a writer, and they thought when I said I was editing for days, that all I was doing was checking for minor errors. Which is a part of the revision process, yes. But what I happened to be working on was not as simple. It's more like:

Step 1: Receive notes from critique partners and consider their suggestions.
Step 2: Rewrite your first chapter.
Step 3: Take out that scene later in the story that your CPs said wasn't working and write something new in its place.
Step 4: Rewrite your first chapter again.
Step 5: Change your character's reaction to an event based on the new scene you wrote.
Step 6: Now revise all of the later chapters based on the character's new reaction.
Step 7: Rewrite your first chapter again.

And it keeps going.

Never mind all the grammatical edits that happen later on.

But you know, I'm okay with being smack in the middle of this misunderstood and complicated process. I'm okay with wanting to rip my hair out because I can't think of a way to make this scene work. (Please remind me later that I said this, okay?) It's part of my job.

If this is a "rough day at work," I'll take it. Because this is something that writers can, and do, get through.

Anyone have any tales from the revision cave?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

All Of Your Questions, Answered!

This week, my critique partner and friend, Kristi Wientge, interviewed me on her blog. She's a fantastic person and everything you could hope for in a CP, so I encourage you all to go visit her at Moments-n-between:

It was SO kind of her to do this, and she came up with some superb questions! Just a warning: my answers are a little on the long and rambling side. But we've covered pretty much everything. If there's anything you've wanted to know about the process of publishing Wishing for Washington, this interview is where you'll find it!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Way You Talk

Have you ever been in a conversation -- or overheard a conversation -- and heard someone say a phrase or word that just sticks with you?

When I was in college, I had a philosophy professor who had a very quirky way of describing things. He was an older gentleman, very kind and easy-going (and very forgetful... he gave us the same assignment a few times in a row... oops.)

We worked in groups in that class, and when my group (3 other girls and myself) was finished with our work, we'd talk and talk. Sometimes our discussions got lively and full of dramatic storytelling. Every time our professor walked by and heard us gabbing away, he'd always say the same thing:

"So much drama! What is this, the soaps?"

And we'd all laugh with him.

The soaps?

I love it. It was such a part of my professor's character to describe things like that. I wouldn't have immediately thought of soap operas when overhearing college students talking dramatically, but he did.

Something made me think of that class the other day, and I realized how we all have our ways of talking that are specific to us. I'm sure I have plenty of quirks that I'm not aware of. And if you're a writer, it's a good idea to be mindful of characters' vocabularies and preferred phrases, too.

What are some peculiar or interesting phrases that you've heard?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review of WISH YOU WEREN'T by Sherrie Petersen

If you love Middle Grade, love science and space, and love to be taken on an adventure, then please -- read this book!

A summary of the book, taken from

Marten doesn't believe in the power of wishes. None of his have ever come true. His parents ignore him, his little brother is a pain and his family is talking about moving to Texas. Not cool. So when he makes an impulsive wish during a meteor shower, he doesn't expect it to make any difference.

Until his annoying brother disappears.

With the present uncertain and his brother’s future in limbo, Marten finds himself stuck in his past. And if he runs out of time, even wishes might not be enough to save the ones he loves.

WISH YOU WEREN'T by Sherrie Petersen is the kind of book that stays in my mind long after I've read it. The characters were very real to me and their dialogue was fun and humorous. Marten, the main character, is easy to relate to, and his little brother is exactly the kind of little brother you'd see in real life (you know, cute and annoying at the same time.) I think my favorite character was Marten's best friend, Paul, who reminds me a bit of myself. I enjoyed the characters' adventure and can't wait to read more by the author!

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, and highly recommend it!

Check out the book on Amazon here, or learn more at Sherrie's website.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Paperback Is Out!

Just letting you guys know that Wishing for Washington is now available as a paperback!

(Yup, those are my copies!)

The back cover is all pretty with clouds and stars and stuff. And it feels amazing. Like, the smoothest book I've ever touched. But I might just be biased.

Anyway, if you or someone you know would like a copy, you can find it on Amazon!

Now that my book baby is out of my hands, I'm focusing on other projects. Editing one manuscript while drafting another. Fun!

What is everyone working on this summer?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gift Ideas for Writers

(Said in announcer voice) "Do you have a friend or family member who is a writer? Are you struggling to figure out what kind of gift to give them for their birthday or a holiday? Well, struggle no more!"

My birthday was last week, and my family gave me the most fun and creative gifts! So, if you need a gift for the writer in your life, here are some ideas:

My mom bought me a WRITER T-shirt and WRITER tote bag! I can't wait to show off to everyone that I do what I love. They're from the TV show Castle, which I also recommend to writers.

My sister gave me a bunch of writer-related goodies. Besides a cute notepad, lined paper for lists, and neat-looking pen, I also got...

...some magnetic poetry, to give me ideas when I'm stuck on a scene, and...

...a notepad for when I get ideas in the shower! Holy cow, I've been saying for years that I need this!

I encourage you all to Google these items and consider them for either yourself or a writer friend. I know I look forward to using them!

But one gift I received that you can't buy came from my grandmother.

She made me a ceramic girl who is reading a copy of Wishing for Washington! Yes, she printed out the front and back covers of my book and glued them on! And that's not all...

...even the inside of the book is the dedication and first page of Wishing for Washington! My grandmother is so creative. I'm in awe.

So, needless to say, I have the most thoughtful family ever, and I love them.

What are some gift ideas for writers that you've seen, received, or come up with yourself?

Monday, June 23, 2014

What Would We Do Without Our Friends?

Sharing a book with the world can be a scary thing. You've worked so hard on it, and then it's time to release it into the wild. It's out of your hands.

But something that makes publishing a book much less scary is the support of friends and family. I'm so grateful for the people in my life, for the encouragement they've provided and enthusiasm they've shown. I couldn't do it without them. (Which is why my acknowledgements section is so long -- a lot of people have helped me on this journey!)

I'm also very thankful for my fellow writers. My blog and Twitter buddies have helped me in many ways: providing feedback, cheering me on, giving advice, and overall reminding me that writing does not have to be solitary. We can share this process instead of feeling lonely.

Two writer friends in particular have been super generous and have featured WISHING FOR WASHINGTON on their blogs:

- Jemi Fraser, who is always above and beyond sweet and always does so much for others. She's been such a lovely friend and is such a positive presence in the online writing world. Everyone who knows her can agree -- and if you don't know her, please go check out her blog!

- Beth Fred, who has beta read for me and provided really good feedback. She's also someone I can talk to about whatever's going on in my life, and who has given me great insight into the indie publishing world. She's always kind enough to feature other writers on her blog and has some thoughtful posts, so I also recommend checking out her blog!

A giant Thank You to many others who have tweeted, shared on Facebook, added on Goodreads, and all the other amazing things you guys do! I appreciate every single thing. Really.

* While we're talking promotion, I am eager to feature more MG and YA books on my blog, so if you or someone you know is interested in promoting your/their book, just comment or send me an email. *

So tell me, in what ways have your friends (or family or writing community) been helpful or invaluable to you?
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