Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! CP Match-Up!

 
It’s time for Ready. Set. WRITE’s CP Match-up! Today we’ll be sharing about our stories and we encourage you to do the same, "shop around" and leave comments on the posts with stories you're most interested in reading. From there, you can decide who might be the best fit for you and contact them via their blog/Twitter/their email. Some suggestions about what to share 

·         a love list, elevator pitch, or query description
·         an excerpt
·         genre/age category
·         whether it’s a stand alone or series
·         where you’re at in the timeline (ie. ready for a beta/CP as of the end of summer or perhaps later in the fall)
·         whether you’re looking for betas or CPs (or both)
·         any warnings that might be applicable (ie only offer to beta if you don’t mind swearing, sex, drug use, etc.)

I worked on two stand-alone stories this summer and I’ve shared excerpts throughout RSW (thank you SO MUCH for all your kind words on those!) So, today, I’m going to share a little more about each. Namely, a brief (haha) pitch, the opening of each story, the story’s theme, the story’s theme song, and a few other items from the story’s love list.  

First up...
Title: THOSE MAGIC CHANGES
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Word Count: 84,000 words.
I anticipate finishing revisions by mid-September.
Also, just fair warning: my boy Axl swears. A LOT.
The not-so-brief pitch: Seventeen-year-olds Alexandra and Axl Reed may be twins but their interests (and personalities) are about as related as baseball and the theatre. Perfect Twin Alexandra is the glorified virgin of Titan Heights; Axl's the renowned punk. But when a freak accident puts them in each other's bodies, they'll have to learn how to relate quickly. Or be the other. Indefinitely.
The opening…
If I hear another song from Grease, I’m going to freaking punch someone.
            Ever since the spring musical was announced, my sister’s done nothing but sing songs from the show: in the bathroom, at dinner, in the car on the way to and from school. Like, right now. Alexandra’s bouncing in the passenger seat, singing, occasionally primping her ponytail in the side mirror when there’s an apparent break in the lyrics. And I say apparent because she’s singing along to music from her iPod, earbuds plugged in, so all I get to hear is her.
            The singing’s not horrible. Actually, Alexandra’s got a pretty awesome voice (not that I’d ever tell her that), but “Summer Nights” 24/7? Her and Dylan doing the “Hand Jive” in the living room for the past two months? Singing a stanza over and over again until it’s perfect?
            Someone please kill me.
            I crank up Panama’s stereo and try to drown out her a cappella performance with Aerosmith. Alexandra flashes me a pitiful sneer, huffs dramatically, then sings louder. I yank a bud out of her ear and point at my stereo.
            “Ow!” she exclaims.
            “Do you mind?”                   
            She tsks. “I’m rehearsing for my callback today, thank you very much, and I have to make sure it’s flawless. I’d have the best junior year ever if Mr. Fonda cast me as Sandy.” She pulls down the passenger-side mirror, appraises herself, and sings, “Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee—”
            “Lousy with virginity,” I mutter. “Yep. You’re perfect for the part.”

Theme: Experience, the best teacher it is.
Theme song: Dude (Looks like a Lady) by Aerosmith
Five items from the Love List: cheesy Star Wars one-liners, vengeful makeovers, flamboyant BFFs, unrequited adoration, and sibling love
 
I also drafted my Mean Boys story this summer and I plan to start revising that in October.
Title:  NO JOKE (I know—not MEAN BOYS. Sorry).
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: currently  84,000 words.
I anticipate finishing revisions by March of 2015.
SUPER ROUGH and not-so-brief pitch: Seventeen-year-old best friends Ashton, Jesse, and Z  have been connected by soccer, rigorous classes, and an insatiable love of pranking each other since grade school. But when a prank goes horribly wrong, harmless pantsing and phone-hacking become a thing of the past, and a vindictive one-upmanship ensues. The friends gang up on each other, and the jokes get more elaborate, more clever. And definitely more mean-spirited. Can the “friends” figure out how to forgive and forget before a prank screws up their friendships and their lives? Permanently.
The opening (also SUPER ROUGH), from my boy Ashton…
I’ve been pantsed. Again.
            I should be used to it. When it comes to Jesse, Z, and me this kind of harmless shit happens all the time. Pantsing, cell phone hacking, and other meaningless pranks have been the norm since middle school. And I wouldn’t be so annoyed if this wasn’t the third time I’ve been pantsed today. Or if I wasn’t standing in the middle of Hollister. With Hot Register Girl. In my Batman boxers.
            I hate my friends.
            A blush creeps up Hot Register Girl’s neck as I fumble my basketball shorts back over my hips. “Sorry about that.” I give a fleeting nod to Jesse and Z, who are animatedly holding up and talking to a loud turquoise Hollister shirt off the clearance rack, one that reads If you’re hot, I’m single.
            “This would go great with Ashton’s boxers, don’t you think?” Z asks.
            Jesse merely snickers.
            Yep. I hate them. 

Theme: Bros before hos (Yep. That’s really the theme)

Theme song: Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield
Five items from the Love List: polarizing secrets; steamy, stolen moments; FIFA; shady deals; and projects that make you go hmmm.
 WHEW. Sorry. That was long. But fun! Anyway, I might be pretty good beta-wise for TMC—I have five people who read for me regularly and 4 others lined up to beta that one, but I’m always up for a pair of fresh eyes! And I know I’ll need a few fresh eyes next March for NO JOKE. Let me know if any of these stories sounds like something you might like to read. J
Oh, and because I’m awesome, I totally forgot to post helpful CP/beta links the other day. Silly me.
Here they are…







Finally, I’m still sad that RSW is over, but I’m going to continue updating and catching up with others through Jaime’s and Erin’s What’s Up Wednesday. You should too!
Don’t forget to sign up on the linky! I can’t wait to read all about your stories!         

 
 





Monday, August 25, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 12: Total Recap



Ready. Set. WRITE! is over. L

BUT I hope it’s been as productive for you as it was for me! The hosts (Katy, Jaime, Erin, and I!) would like to thank you SO MUCH for joining us for our summer writing intensive. Today, we’re recapping our summer progress and we encourage you to do the same! But first… 

How I did on last week’s goal 

1) Finish fixing the beginning of my WiP.  CHECK! Well, at least for now. J 

2) Read through THOSE MAGIC CHANGES (TMC). Start a revision list (again J) for my R&R CHECK! And I am still ridiculously in love with this story! Yay! 

Overall goals this summer 

1) Finish a first draft of my MEAN BOYS story. CHECK! And I can’t wait to get back to revising it!
2) Revise/gut/reconfigure the first forty pages of my most recent story THOSE MAGIC CHANGES. CHECK! And very excited about the new beginning!
A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised 

Since I worked on two stories this summer, I’ll share a snippet from each.  

First, from THOSE MAGIC CHANGES, a line I’ve probably read a gazillion times and, for whatever reason, on my read-through last week made me spew water all over my screen. 

 “Seaman made me come tonight.”

Totally unintentional. Totally keeping it.

And from my Mean Boys story—a small-ish excerpt between my boy Jesse and his girlfriend Meaghan (Mags)—a relationship I can’t wait to get back to.

The waiter brings us our check. Mags immediately breaks open her fortune cookie, stretches her little white paper out like she’s opening a scroll, and reads.
            “Ride your ambition to the skies.” Her ensuing grin takes up half the restaurant, and then she lowers her voice to a very sexy drawl. “Jesse Maurice Hurd, will you be my ambition tonight?”
            I can’t pay the bill fast enough.

The biggest challenge I faced this summer (finding time to write, getting sick, having writer’s block, etc)

My inner editor when drafting; wishy-washiness on cutting scenes when revising.

Something I love about my WIP(s)

My Mean Boys story: Overall, I love that this story is about three guys who are best friends, play soccer together, and have an insatiable love of pranking one another. And that I can totally count watching soccer as research. I mean, I’d watch regardless, but still. J

THOSE MAGIC CHANGES: Guys. I know this is going to sound completely narcissistic, but I was reading through my TMC story last week - I’ve read it at least a hundred times (seriously way more) - and it’s amazing how many things I find—little gestures, unnecessary words—that I can cut. But what’s more amazing? There’s so much about this story I love—I literally LOLed on various passages, teared up on a few others. It may not make it any further than hanging out with the dustbunnies under my bed, but it’s giving me “all the feels.” And inspires me to fix it the best I can so hopefully one day you can read it too.

CP Match-Up!

 The hosts want to say a HUGE thank you for your active involvement in Ready. Set. WRITE! this summer! We hope that it was extremely productive for you and that you made oodles of progress on your WiPs!

And if you are looking for new readers or are interested in beta reading for someone’s WiP, this Thursday August 28th we’ll be hosting a CP match-up! We'll share about our stories and we encourage you to do the same. Then, RSW participants can "shop around" and leave comments on the posts with stories they're most interested in reading. From there, you can decide who might be the best fit for you and contact them via their blog/Twitter/their email. Some suggestions about what to share

·         a love list, elevator pitch, or query description
·         an excerpt
·         genre/age category
·         whether it’s a stand alone or series
·         where you’re at in the timeline (ie ready for a beta/CP as of the end of summer or perhaps later in the fall)
·         whether you’re looking for betas or CPs (or both)
·         any warnings that might be applicable (ie only offer to beta if you don’t mind swearing, sex, drug use, etc.)


I can’t wait to check out your posts! PS—don’t forget to sign up on the linky!





Monday, August 18, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 11: It's Almost Over (sniff)



Guys. It is the second to last week of Ready. Set. WRITE! How is that even POSSIBLE?!  

I hope you all had a productive week! Here’s how last week went for me… 

How I did on last week’s goal

1) Read through THOSE MAGIC CHANGES (TMC). Start a revision list (again J) for my R&R. 

Eh. I read through a hundred pages before I realized I kind of needed to complete goal 2 first. J 

2) Continue with plans for changing the beginning of TMC. Finish fixing the first chapter (based on awesome CP notes). Continue working on the second one. 

Check! Fixed chapter One and Two and am THIS close to being satisfied with the changes I’m making in the rest of the beginning. So, yay!

My goal(s) for this week 

1) Finish fixing the beginning of my WiP.   

2) Read through THOSE MAGIC CHANGES (TMC). Start a revision list (again J) for my R&R

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised 

Here’s a new scene I added last week to THOSE MAGIC CHANGES. It’s between my main characters, Alexandra and Axl. They’re twins. She’s really into her musical theatre. He’s really into his baseball. And they’re always having issues…relating. This scene features them with Mr. Wibble (aka Yoda). It’s a little long. And it might still be slightly rough and redundant. And it has a few curse words. And…
 
Okay, I’ll just shut up and share. J

On the way out of class, Axl grabs my arm and roughly whirls me to face him.
            “I’ll be late picking you up.”
            “What? Why?”
            “Coach. Gave me OT. Which is a hell of a lot better than being cut so I’ll take it.”
            “And you’re just telling me now? We had three classes together. I could’ve found another ride. I could’ve—”
            “Because I knew I’d never hear the end of it.” He sneers. “Now I don’t have to see you until after practice.” He starts a stride toward the lunch room. I speed-walk to catch up to him.
            “How long will you be?” I whine. I can’t help it. When Mr. Fonda dismisses us, he expects us to go. I can’t stay after too much longer, waiting in front of the auditorium. That’s just so…awkward.
            “I’ll stay until Coach releases me.” There’s a churlish eye roll in his tone, but then he stops in front of the boys’ bathroom and says, “Look. It shouldn’t be long. Just laps around the infield, putting shit away.” I must look like I’m about to cry because he snaps, “Twenty fucking minutes. Deal with it. No way my ass is warming the bench again this year.”
            I bite back tears. “Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you got in a fight.”
            Axl throws a finger in my face. “You have no idea what you’re talking about so just—”
            Someone starts whistling, loudly, from the boys’ bathroom. Mr. Wibble wheels out a trash receptacle, smiles at us, and says, “Good day for meatloaf in the cafeteria it is. Eat lunch you should.”
            And then he scoots back into the bathroom. Axl, shakes his head, mutters a gross obscenity under his breath and says, “I’ll get you when I get you.” He takes off toward the cafeteria before I can utter another word.

The biggest challenge I faced this week (finding time to write, getting sick, having writer’s block, etc)

Back story and how much to sprinkle in where. Always my BIGGEST nemesis.

Something I love about my WIP 

I’m kind of a huge Star Wars nerd so I love rereading my story and seeing all the Star Wars references. I did have to cut this line this week though: “Please, Katrina. You're my only hope.” And I was all kinds of sad about that. L

 
Just a heads up—next week is the last week of RSW (insert HUGE sad face) and so the hosts (the fabulous KatyUpperman, Jaime Morrow, Erin Funk, and me!) are going to do a recap post, updating how we did with our goals this summer. We encourage you to do the same!

I hope you all had an incredibly productive week! I can’t wait to check out your posts! PS—don’t forget to sign up on the linky!





Monday, August 11, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 10!

 
I hope you all had a productive week with Ready. Set. WRITE! If you’re new and wondering what RSW is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive through which we write/revise/plan like crazy, cheer each other on, and hold one another accountable with weekly updates. We’ll be sharing our goals on Mondays and keeping our posts brief so we can save our words for our WiPs! J Sign up on the linky at one of the host blogs (the fabulous KatyUpperman, Jaime Morrow, Erin Funk, and me!) each week, and remember to hop around to encourage other participants. For more info on RSW and a link to our lovely stash of buttons, click here! 

And if you missed the initial goal setting post and still want to join in, PLEASE DO! Just post your goals today, use the 5 headings if you want, and join the fun!

Here’s how last week went for me…

How I did on last week’s goals

My goals for last week were to take a break from both my stories and…

1) Read! Check! I finished one beta read, started another, and also read the absolutely stunning EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU (Nina LaCour) and the way too hilarious ME, EARL, AND THE DYING GIRL (Jesse Andrews) 

2) Exercise every day. Almost! Exercised six days out of seven. I’m counting it as success. J 

3) Work on cleaning projects that have taken a backburner. Um… 

4) Do some fun things with the kiddos. Took the kids to Panera, the son mini-golfing; the daughter and I had a movie night and went shopping. Very good times. J Hopefully, we’ll get to see Guardians of the Galaxy next week. I keep hearing how fabulous it is!

My goal(s) for this week 

Time to get back to writing (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

1) Read through THOSE MAGIC CHANGES (TMC). Start a revision list (again J) for my R&R

2) Continue with plans for changing the beginning of TMC. Finish fixing the first chapter (based on awesome CP notes). Continue working on the second one.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised 

While I get back to TMC, I’m taking a break from writing/revising my MEAN BOYS story, BUT I’m not going to break from it completely. Last week I conducted some…research and one word can sum that up: FUN

The biggest challenge I faced this week (finding time to write, getting sick, having writer’s block, etc)

I was supposed to be on a break from writing and I wanted nothing more than to open a doc and start working on one of my stories. Not a bad thing. Not at all. But it did make “taking a break” a challenge. J

Something(s) I love about my WIPs

TMC: the musical aspect of this story. My playlist and my chapter titles are an eclectic mix of Broadway musicals and classic rock and roll, and whenever I work on this story I sing ALL THE TIME.  My neighbors are going to hate me this week.

MEAN BOYS: my three main characters: their friendship, their love of soccer, their pranking ways. They make my heart sing, and  I’m ridiculously excited to get back to this story.

I hope you all had an incredibly productive week! I can’t wait to check out your posts! PS—don’t forget to sign up on the linky!





Monday, August 4, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 9: THE END is HERE!

 
We have another giveaway winner! Congrats to Leandra Wallace who won my writerly care package! YAY!!!

I hope you all had a productive week with Ready. Set. WRITE! If you’re new and wondering what RSW is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive through which we write/revise/plan like crazy, cheer each other on, and hold one another accountable with weekly updates. We’ll be sharing our goals on Mondays and keeping our posts brief so we can save our words for our WiPs! J Sign up on the linky at one of the host blogs (the fabulous KatyUpperman, Jaime Morrow, Erin Funk, and me!) each week, and remember to hop around to encourage other participants. For more info on RSW and a link to our lovely stash of buttons, click here! 

And if you missed the initial goal setting post and still want to join in, PLEASE DO! Just post your goals today, use the 5 headings if you want, and join the fun! 

Here’s how last week went for me… 

How I did on last week’s goal

My goal for last week was to 

Write 8000 words on my Mean Boys story. Check! In fact, I wrote 11.5K. And I finished my draft. See…

My tweet after I finished my latest WiP yesterday. Weighing in at 84K—most of it crap—it’s my shortest first draft by far, and I’m pretty excited about that. There’s a lot I need to flesh out, but also A LOT I need to cut. And there are quite a few diamonds in that crappy first draft. Every story I write secures a special place in my heart, but I think maybepossiblydefinitely that this story is my favorite yet.

Heh. I’ll let you know how I feel once I start revising it. But right now. I am so in love.

And it’s done. WHEW

My goal(s) for this week

Nada mucho. I’m taking the week off of writing. But I do have some non-writing related goals…

1) Read! I have two beta reads that I’m dying to, um . . . read! J I also want to catch up on my TBR. Catch up on my TBR. *snickers*

2) I’ve gotten out of a regular habit of exercise and I need to get back to it. So, I plan to exercise every day—walk, elliptical, dance my heart out…SOMETHING

3) Cleaning projects that have taken a backburner. Definitely a good week to work on those!

4) Most importantly—do some fun things with the kiddos before they go back to school. Which isn’t for a few weeks, but still.

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

At this point, I feel like anything I share excerpt-wise would be too spoilery, so I’m going with a word: MEAN. I’m horribly awful to some of my characters sometimes. I joked with a writer friend that I should call this story MEAN GIRL WRITES ABOUT MEAN BOYS. J

The biggest challenge I faced this week (finding time to write, getting sick, having writer’s block, etc)

My climax and the scenes leading up to it—it’s not working the way I want it to and I wanted to edit the whole thing fifty times over. I had to continuously remind myself that this is FIRST DRAFT.

Something I love about my WIP 

The ending scenes. There’s a lot I need to work on in the middle and at the climax, but I absolutely LOVE how my story wraps up.
 

I hope you all had an incredibly productive week! I can’t wait to check out your posts! PS—don’t forget to sign up on the linky!





Monday, July 28, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 8!

 
We have another giveaway winner! Congrats to Jessica Leake who won Katy’s wowsome writerly package! YAY!!! And stay tuned! Our final care package giveaway awaits you at the end of this post!

I hope you all had a productive week with Ready. Set. WRITE! If you’re new and wondering what RSW is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive through which we write/revise/plan like crazy, cheer each other on, and hold one another accountable with weekly updates. We’ll be sharing our goals on Mondays and keeping our posts brief so we can save our words for our WiPs! J Sign up on the linky at one of the host blogs (the fabulous KatyUpperman, Jaime Morrow, Erin Funk, and me!) each week, and remember to hop around to encourage other participants. For more info on RSW and a link to our lovely stash of buttons, click here! 

And if you missed the initial goal setting post and still want to join in, PLEASE DO! Just post your goals today, use the 5 headings if you want, and join the fun! 

Here’s how last week went for me… 

How I did on last week’s goal 

My goals for last week were to 

1) Write 5000 words on my Mean Boys story. Check!

2) Work on my beginning of TMC at least three days this week. TRY to have it mostly done and in the hands of readers by the end of July.
 
I worked on my THOSE MAGIC CHANGES story four days, making progress on my new beginning. BUT I don't think I'm going to have my revised beginning in the hands of readers this week. Here's why...

Friday, I received a Revise and Resubmit from one of the agents who had a full of TMC. She had a lot of really nice things to say, many of her revision suggestions resonated with me, and the wheels are already spinning for how I'm going to address them. It’s not going to require a major overhaul, but I know the revision will require intense focus. Therefore, I have a new game plan…I’m so close to finishing my first draft of my Mean Boys story and I hate to leave it. So, I’m not. I’m going to focus on Mean Boys, try to finish it in the next two weeks (*fingers crossed*) and then take a necessary breather from it while I work on my TMC revision.

I can do this, I can do this. *breathes*

My goal(s) for this week

I’m on the finale of my Mean Boys story and I should make this week’s goal to write that; however, I am way better with word count goals so I will stick with this one, kicked up a notch so I can get ‘er done! So, here's my goal...

Write 8000 words on my Mean Boys story.

Setting the bar high (for me). Hoo boy.  

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised 

From my boy Ashton, quoting Lord of the Flies: “Maybe there is a beast . . . Maybe it’s only us.”

and a more fun and original one from my girl Meaghan: “I can’t believe you made me pass some sort of guy entrance test to come in here. Especially considering I’ve swapped spit with all three of you.”

The biggest challenge I faced this week (finding time to write, getting sick, having writer’s block, etc)

A want to edit EVERYTHING on first draft. I worked on what I think may be two of my favorite scenes in my story and my inner editor wanted to do nothing more than perfect them.

Something I love about my WIP 

I didn’t mean for my Mean Boys WiP to have such an eighties explosion in it, but it does. The theme song is “Jessie’s Girl,” and there are mullet, Miami Vice, Missing Link  and other eighties-themed references. This week I worked on a scene that reminds me so much of this one from The Breakfast Club. Those who know me or who’ve been minions in my classroom know how HUGE this is.

 
The scene I worked on involves a lot of what’s going on in this one: many admissions—some on-the-surface and fun, some deep and scarring. I am ridiculously in love with this story. 

Thank you for being such amazing RSWers! To celebrate, we’re having a month full of giveaways! Yep! One each week for our awesome participants! This week’s writerly care package is from me! Check out the awesome… 

 
Just enter to win via the rafflecopter on any of the hosts blogs!  
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you all had an incredibly productive week! I can’t wait to check out your posts! PS—don’t forget to sign up on the linky!