Dilemma! Should I do a What’s Up Wednesday post, or a RTW Book of the Month post? Clearly, I decided to do a WuW. And if you really want to know what my pick for best read in August is… I’ll blog that sometime around the weekend or shortly thereafter. For those who don’t know, What’s Up Wednesday is a meme devised by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk wherein we respond to four reading/writing-related prompts as a way of catching up with each other. So what’s up with me this Wednesday…?
What I’m Reading
I’m currently reading THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker. In the story, the rotation of the Earth has slowed, causing the gravitational pull to be stronger (with resulting effects on bird flight and baseball), longer days, and so on. In the midst of the panic and confusion, Julia, the 11-year-old main character, has to continue dealing with life–friends leaving, parents arguing, bullies at school, and so on. I’m not very far into it (my fault, not the book’s), so I can’t say much about it. I will say this: the MC’s age might be misleading with regard to genre. This is not an MG novel. I don’t think it’s ever stated, but I think Julia is narrating the story as a much older person. The things she focuses on, and the insight she brings to the events are not what you would expect of someone in middle school. In other words, the story might be about Middle Graders, but the voice is definitely not MG. I thought this an interesting observation, especially since we often ask ourselves what makes a YA or MG book YA or MG. As this book shows, it’s not just about the age of the characters.
What I’m Writing
I’m still working on revisions to the WIP. It’s slow going, partly due to life, and also partly because I wrote the first draft without much thought to vocabulary and voice. My main consideration as I wrote this novel was the story, with the occasional alien word and hints at a voice as they came to me. Now, I’m having to go through each line carefully, thinking “Is that something she would say? Does she know that word, or concept? How else might she express that thought?” Sometimes this results in a word substitution. Sometimes it results in entire sentences or paragraphs being removed or re-written. Some might argue this is where the real craft of writing lies, and I must admit, I think there’s a lot of truth to that. It took creative energy and inspiration to write the first draft. But it’s in this stage that the story moves from being a story to my story. This is where the clunky prose and half-developed ideas hopefully become elegant phrases and fully realized narrative. It where the humanoid-shaped hunk of marble becomes Michelangelo’s “David”–or something like that. And when it’s done, it’s off to beta readers, who will help me make it even better! That’s the plan anyway.
What Inspires Me Right Now
Nothing specific, except the craft of writing itself. It’s very easy to be inspired to write when you’ve just written something that, at least to your ear, sounds really good. Or when you confront a challenging passage, and you’re not sure how to express that idea, or if that idea needs to be expressed. These are the things that keep me at it. And rewards. I’ve promised myself a nice reward when the novel is beta reader ready.
What Else I’ve Been Up To
Aside from the usual things in life, I participated in yet another Janet Reid Writing Contest this past weekend. I was quite pleased with my entry, and while it didn’t win, it did get special recognition for “minimalism” (see the results, and read the finalists’ entries HERE). By this, Janet was referring to the fact that I used all five challenge words consecutively in one phrase. I confess, I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, so I was especially pleased it worked. I’m thinking about doing the next one (whenever that is) as a rhyming poem. Yes–I love a writing challenge! In fact, I’ve been thinking about compiling all my JRWC entries into one article. It might be interesting to see how I’ve grown as a writer over the past few years of doing these. What do you think?
What have you been up to this past week? See Jaime Morrow’s blog for details on how to participate, and to find out what’s up with other people.