Friday Things

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Hello Friday, it’s wonderful to see you.

It’s been a week. I ultimately decided to cancel my upcoming trip to Grenada, which sucks, but we’re trying to plan something else to make up for it. My cat may be ill. I’m behind on my writing. I’m trying not to let my day job suck out my soul. Hoping this weekend will be a good time to reboot and go into next week feeling a bit more together.

Here are some interesting things I’ve found on the internets lately:

1. Famous authors had day jobs, too.

2. To me it never went away, but I loved reading about the resurgence of the greatest TV show ever.

3. Not sure I agree with the accuracy of all of these, but this was interesting.

4. This is just awesome.

5. And this is incredibly useful.

Reading: The sequel to this. It’s so good I was happy when the subway got stuck this morning because it gave me extra reading time.

Watching: This. It’s definitely not the most brilliant TV of our time, but I loved the books and am really enjoying it. (This made me laugh so hard.)

Writing: Still on my YA fantasy. Last week I made a major shift to the inciting incident–I made things much worse for my protagonist–so I’m quickly reworking some of the opening scenes before moving onto to new stuff. It’s a definite improvement. I just need a Time-Turner so I have more time to work on it.

Listening to: These guys

Lovely image found here

Learning from the Masters: The Meet-Cute (sort of)

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In my current manuscript, there are many things I’m struggling with. (More on some of those other things here.) One of them is when my protagonist first meets the boy who will eventually become a love interest. In movies, known as the “meet-cute.”

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Wanderlusty Wednesday: A Travel Dilemma

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Please help me make a decision!

So I wrote a little while ago about how our friends randomly invited us to go to Grenada on short notice, and in the spirit of “why not?” travel, we said yes. Flights booked, Airbnb booked, Grenada here we come!

Well, it turns out there are actually reason why not to go to Grenada right now. That mosquito virus, mainly. I’m not pregnant, but one of my friends may be and another is trying–so everyone else has backed out of the trip.

Also, a US tourist just got murdered there. It wouldn’t be a deterrent, normally, but it’s kind of weird this news has come right as my boyfriend and I are debating whether or not to still go.

I know we’d have fun just the two of us but we’re already kind of bummed since it was supposed to be a group trip. We won’t be able to afford as nice of a place with just us, the car rental will be more, etc. I’m not excited about it anymore. And now I’m also worried, more about the virus than the murder. Anyone infected is being asked to wait two years before trying to get pregnant. I’m not sure what the next two years hold for me, but I really didn’t have “wait out mosquito virus” in my plans.

I know I’ve said not to let fear stop you from traveling before, but disease scares me in a very different way than terrorism does. I’m also just not excited to go anymore. I don’t know if we can get our airfare refunded–but even if we can’t, I may just want to stay home.

What should we do? I’m notoriously terrible at decision-making. (The Libra in me.) Please help!

Image which isn’t making this decision any easier found here

Learning From The Masters: Setting the Scene

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Another example of a good descriptive paragraph, this time from this awesome book which was one of the ones I couldn’t put down last year (though I gave the entire series mixed reviews…)

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Writing Tip: Read in Your Genre, BUT…

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I wrote about one of the most important writing tips of all a little while ago: the importance of reading in the genre you’re writing in.

But I forgot one big caveat of this.

I’m currently on a YA fantasy book kick, because I’m currently writing the first draft of my first-ever YA fantasy. And it’s been pretty great; I’m now on this amazing book and enjoying every minute of it.

But I found myself doing something not-so-great yesterday.

In the throes of drafting, I was despairing that my current first draft will never be good enough. I have either too much description or not enough, there’s not enough tension, there’s not enough character development, the protagonist isn’t strong enough, etc.

And all throughout my despairing, I was thinking about the best-selling YA fantasy I’m currently reading. Why won’t I ever be that good?!?!

And then I realized: I was comparing my very first draft with someone else’s finished product.

Comparison of any kind when it comes to your work generally isn’t a good thing. Chances are, someone out there will be able to do something better than you, whether it’s writing beautiful sentences, setting a scene, weaving a brilliant theme throughout the brilliant dialogue, etc.

I get it. It’s hard not to make those comparisons. But comparing your first draft to a published novel? Not only is that not a productive use of your time, it doesn’t make any sense. Because that published novel has likely been revised and rewritten dozens of times. And you’re on pass #1.

Feeling like you’re not good enough can be discouraging verging on crippling. When you feel crippled, instead of writing, you’re spending your time despairing over your lack of talent. Don’t do that. If you think you’re not good enough, sit back down and write until you are.

So. Read in your genre, learn from the great writers–but never, never compare your work-in-progress to a published author’s finished work.

Here endeth the lesson.

Image found here

Closer to The Mountain

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Just a quick post to see how I moved myself closer to the mountain this week (this concept explained last week in case you missed it)…

1. My professional health

  • I met my weekly writing goal of 7,000 words, and exceeded it by 100
  • I blogged every day
  • I applied to 3 new jobs and went on an interview. I also had a revelation that maybe I’m better off staying where I am … but more on that later

2. My personal health

  • I had brunch with one friend, dinner with two more, and had a cousins’ night
  • I checked a few things off my life to-do list

3. My physical health

  • I got a massage
  • I did cardio
  • On some nights, I got enough sleep

So I did okay. But I could do more.

  • I didn’t apply to any freelance writing assignments. Perhaps I will use my day off tomorrow to do so
  • I did not find a new yoga studio
  • I did not do cardio more than once
  • I ate and drank too much
  • I did not get enough sleep every night
  • I didn’t cook, or spend a ton of one-on-one time with my boyfriend

So I really need to exercise more, watch my food/booze intake, get to bed every single night at a reasonable hour, and break into the freelance world. And find a damn yoga studio with hours that suit me.

Does anyone else do stuff like this? If so, I’d love to hear about your mountain and how you’re moving yourself closer!

Cool image found here

Friday Things

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This week. I just can’t. It wasn’t a great week to begin with, and then we lose another icon. I mean, I’m well aware that Alan Rickman is not Severus Snape and that even if he were, Snape already died, but still, after reading about him and what a great guy he was, I can’t help but feel like the world’s a little darker.

As always, I’m getting through it all by immersing myself in reading and writing and spending time with people I care about.

Here are some interesting things I found this week from around the internets:

1. 19 books to read before the movies come out. I’m especially excited for Miss Peregrine!

2. 12 Common Character Archetypes. Don’t turn your character into a cliché, but like Myers-Briggs, this could help you figure out some stuff about them.

3. I initially freaked out about this, but it seems like it’s going to be kind of a let down.

4. My new favorite Instagram account. I can’t stop laughing.

5. One of my favorite bloggers wrote a book and I can’t wait to read it. I loved this quote from this article: “When she finds herself walking into a store absentmindedly, she says to herself, ‘I need experiences, not possessions.’”

6. Finally, 7 countries to move to if You-Know-Who becomes president. (Not Voldemort. Worse!)

Reading: I posted yesterday about the amazingness that is this book and I can’t stop reading it. It’s SO GOOD.

Watching: In a move that made my boyfriend roll his eyes and say “Not again!”, I have embarked upon a rewatch of the first few seasons of the greatest TV show of all time. I realized it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the earlier seasons (which are, in my humble opinion, for the most part the best ones).

Listening to: Nothing in particular since my headphones broke and I’ve been too busy to go get new ones 😦

Heartbreaking image found here