WRITE Wednesday

WRITE Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by my dear friend Poppy Simeri and Vera James every Wednesday. As What’s Up, Wednesday has wrapped up, I’m excited to jump into this new feature! It will focus on writing & reading, regular blogging, and blog friendships.

W: Writing

I’m wrapping up the first round of edits on Delia this week so I can send them to some friends for initial critiques. I can’t believe I’ve managed to cut over 30,000 words already. (It was depressingly necessary.) But I’m more excited about the story than ever since it finally has some coherency. And just yesterday Poppy herself texted me about an exciting new writing project for us to work on together. It’s going to be fun and challenging and I’m already frantically brainstorming fun things to put into it.

R: Reading

I still haven’t finished my Great Harry Potter Re-read, but I have made it to the 7th book so. It’s on the horizon. I’m hoping to be done by September 1st so that I can have read them in one year.

I also just picked up City of Bones by Cassandra Clare on a couple of friends’ recommendation. I’m about five chapters in, and I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m not 100% sold, but it’s something I can read pretty quickly, so I’ll stick with it.

I: Inspiration

I’m inspired by good writing. Books that are so good I have to set them aside to write something of my own. Books that are so beautifully written I want to do yet another round of edits to make my writing stronger. Having author-crushes makes something warm bloom in my chest that pushes me to be better, better, better.

T: Thinking Ahead

Having these Delia edits done! Seeing what wonderful and terrifying and insightful notes my friends will have for me and how I’ll possibly manage to do them while balancing grad school.

E: Encouragement

Writing friendships and crit partners! Knowing there are people cheering for me that are excited about what I’m doing is the best inspiration to keep me writing. They especially help push me toward the finish line and make the best version of the book possible. I try my best to be my writer friends’ cheerleader as well, because they’re all so amazing and I am so amazed by how talented they are.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

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Cripes, I’ve been busy. Since the last time I’ve posted I feel like my life has gone from boring to stand-still to FULL THROTTLE. I can’t stop effusing about how happy I am and it’s such a great change, it feels so wonderful, that y’all are just going to have to deal with good-mood Molly.

Let’s see. I guess the last thing I mentioned about life changes was that I’d heard back from grad schools. I was fortunate to get in to every school that I applied to (all three of them), and I settled on Syracuse University where I am happily, besottedly studying Television, Radio, and Film. I’m half-way through the summer semester and head over heels in love with it.

Which means that since my lease in DC ended in May, I have moved twice. First was a short stint at my parents’ house back in Cleveland. It was nice to be home. I think being able to spend some quality time with my family and have some semblance of a summer vacation was the best thing I could have done for my mental health. Then, on the first of July, my Dad and I each packed up a car and I moved to Syracuse, the place that I’ll call home for the next year. My house is super cute, and I’m more than a little in love with the front porch. (I will admit to desperately missing air conditioning.)

Clocking in at eleven months, 160 pages, and 67,000 words, I finished the first draft of That Golf Story. Kate and Bailey kept convincing me to add more make-out scenes, but I am done! It feels great to have another manuscript under my belt and it’s given me a chance to really sit down and focus on editing Delia. I managed to shred the first half and really rebuild it. With 50 pages left to edit, I’ve already cut out 30,000 words. I’m hoping to get the rest done in time to send it to K & B by the end of the month for preliminary feedback.

Life is almost moving too quickly, but I’m loving every second of it. I’d managed to forget that productivity breeds productivity, so after having a quiet six weeks at my parents’ house, I’m getting an absurd amount of work done. Aside from my personal writing projects, I just revised a script that my production class and I will be turning into a short film over the next three weeks. I’ll also be starring in it!

I’ve never felt a closer kinship with my heroine Hermione Granger in my entire life. We’ve been sorted (into production teams), the class selection is so overwhelming I feel like I need a time-turner, my hand snaps into the air at every opportunity, and there’s even a castle-like building on (the surprisingly gorgeous) campus!

Also, I keep forgetting and then remembering that Aaron Sorkin went to school here, and I keep dying little happy deaths. I hope you, too, are having the best July of all time.

What’s Up, Wednesday? //10\\

Welcome back to WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY,hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. To learn more about it, you should really visit their respective pages. I use it to keep me writing, to make myself think about writing, and to force myself to think positive and find things to look forward to.

What I’m Reading

Well, let’s see. As predicted, I cried my way through the last 50 pages of Code Name Verity. It was agonizingly beautiful and I already picked up Rose Under Fire from the library.

I’m almost done with Adverbs by Daniel Handler. I loved A Series of Unfortunate Events by Handler (written as Lemony Snicket) and I didn’t expect Adverbs to be the same, it’s an adult book after all. But I don’t love it the way I wanted to. The vignettes are all woven together with a common cast of characters, but none of them feel compelling. None of them feel fleshed out nor the world well-developed enough for me to really be hooked.

The Great Harry Potter re-read is still underway, and I’m currently working my way through Order of the Phoenix. I expect to sprint through the first four hundred pages and have to force myself to finish it. I’m not ready for that kind of emotional pain.

What I’m Writing

That Golf Story – I’m making some serious progress! Just about three chapters to go if all of my plotting and pacing in my outline is accurate. Everything’s coming together and it’s equally exciting and nerve-wracking because I’m not ready to let go of these characters yet. But only one more golf match to write (thankfully – you can only make them so interesting) and there are relationship developments happening between the main characters. It’s all coming together.

Delia – I’m trying to use the weekends to revise, but *insert panicked laughter here* oh boy is that difficult to dive into. So I’m still just trying to jigsaw the plot of the first half together, re-tooling character introductions and meet-cutes alike.

What Works for Me

Bribes. I’m not even kidding. Once, I put off writing a kissing scene for literally weeks until Kate bribed me with a bottle of wine to finish it. And now it’s not been explicitly stated or anything, but I really revel in it when Bailey and Kate send me positive feedback and general exclamation points as they read new chapters. It gets me excited to keep writing and to think of how they’ll react to what’s to come.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

I heard back from grad schools! I got in! The relief and joy have now taken a back-burner to my frantic list-making. I have a spreadsheet of pros and cons and costs and benefits for the two programs I’m seriously considering, so that’s been my main focus.

What’s Up, Wednesday? //4\\

Welcome back to WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY, which is hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. To learn more about it, you should really visit their respective pages. I use it to keep me writing, to make myself think about writing, and to force myself to think positive and find things to look forward to.

What I’m Reading

More of the same. The last week has been so busy that I haven’t had the chance to read much at all. But I am looking forward to Making Headlines* by my good friend Erin Brown. It’s going to have scandals and sleuthing and tons of chemistry, I’m sure. I absolutely adored Erin’s first book (which exists in the same universe), so I’m really looking forward to Making Headlines. The characters Erin writes are always such a delight to read, I’m sure I’ll devour this book in no time.

*Making Headlines is a companion to Erin’s first book, Taking Flight, but don’t let that stop you from picking it up! You needn’t have read Taking Flight for Making Headlines to make sense, but you should absolutely read that as well.

What I’m Writing

I’ve promised to send Kate (see What Works for Me) more pages of That Golf Story soon. I’ve been pretty busy the last week, so new new words yet. But I’m pretty excited for what’s about to come: 

 @MollytheGhost Fine, instead of writing you an outtake I will sprint towards a scene fraught with sexual tension between Carter & Butt Boy.

@MollytheGhost They might make out soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What Works for Me

For the first time ever I’ve shown someone the first draft of what I’ve written. I’ve been sending my friend Kate chapters of That Golf Story as I complete them and it’s actually been really great for me. So far, at least. Because I’m sending her chapters as I finish them, I tend to be writing at a faster clip than usual. Though most of that might come down to the fact that I’m not trying to edit as I go instead of put down new words.

I think one of the main things this has been working for me is because she hasn’t been giving me critique. Which is probably a good thing because if she had been I don’t know if I’d ever write again. She’s an indomitable editrix and she kind of scares me. She keeps promising to cut my drafts to ribbons with a machete and make the pages run red with her pen, so I’m wary. But it’s so nice to just hear positive reinforcement, like, “The description of them [redacted] was beautiful. Tomfoolery + amazing imagery. My favorite.” Or when she’s just the most encouraging about me putting new words down because I want her to get to read them. Having someone outside of my head be excited for my characters is a novel experience. It’s nice because, for once, when I talk to her about my characters, she finally has context to understand my frustrations/exaltation.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Last weekend was Memphis weekend! I ate so much food every step of the journey and I have absolutely no regrets! Memphis was so small of a city I almost want to call it quaint. Pretty much everywhere we wanted to go we could walk to from our hotel. We saw the famous Parade of Ducks at the Peabody, walked along the Mississippi River, drank on Beale Street, and ate more barbecue than you can imagine. I even let Mom guilt me into going to Graceland, because giving her the vicarious trip was the least I could do. I found Graceland impossibly underwhelming and the best part of Graceland was the Blue Bell ice cream I ate while I was there. But I did it for my mom, and I’ll have tales to tell her and pictures to show her and gifts to give her, so whatever.

This weekend my Dad is coming to the area for a Civil War photography seminar that he’s been looking forward to since the location was announced last year. So I probably won’t see much of him, but I’ve convinced him to bring my golf clubs down and, weather permitting, we’ll play a round. I’ve also convinced him to go to trivia with me on Sunday, so maybe my team will finally have a chance at winning.

I still haven’t started grad school applications and that’s a thing I should really do this weekend, huh? When investigating last week I discovered that one of the schools I was planning to apply to won’t work out because it requires a portfolio and hahaha I don’t have one of those, so. Hmph. Now I’m left to decide whether I want to apply to the same school for a different program or look elsewhere.

What’s Up, Wednesday? // 3 \\

Well, hello! And let me just say Happy October! That seems to be a thing people are excited about.

Welcome back to WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY, which is hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. To learn more about it, you should really visit their respective pages. I use it to keep me writing, to make myself think about writing, and to force myself to think positive and find things to look forward to.

What I’m Reading

Oh, boy. I’m in the middle of my Harry Potter re-read that I started at the beginning of the Hogwarts term. (For those Muggles out there – September 1st.) I’m currently in the middle of Prisoner of Azkaban which used to be my favorite of the series. I’m looking forward to finding out whether or not that’s still the case.

On my slate are a few big re-reads of the first two books in quite a few series:

  • The Untold trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan;
  • The Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin; and
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

in preparation for the third books in each of those series being released. (Yes, I know that Unmade was released in September, but I haven’t had time yet. There’s no time!)

What I’m Writing

I am still steadily plugging along in That Golf Story. I’d say, as of now, I’m about 1/3 of the way in? Maybe? Hopefully. At this rate it will be the shortest ms I’ve ever put together. Which is not a bad thing. So I’ve got about 20k words down. As far as 60k in 60 Days goes, I’m on track. I’m so glad I didn’t pressure myself to do the 60 days consecutively. I’d say I’ve written about 17 days between August 8 – now. My goal is to be done with this draft by Christmas. As the story takes place during the high school golf season, I’ve just (literally just) decided to split the story into three manageable sections – August, September, October – which should help with pacing.

Anyway, I reblogged this excellent Buffy the Vampire Slayer quote the other day and it’s been rattling around my head ever since. God, I love Spike. I love Spike the way that I love Jess Mariano, and Logan Echolls, and Damon Salvatore and all of those other bad boys you want to make out with [the heroine] even though he probably wouldn’t make a very good boyfriend IRL. But this quote, this is exactly what I want to evoke between my main character and her arch-nemesis-cum-love interest. It’s just a matter of making the words on the page reflect that feeling.

What Works for Me

Location, Location, Location

I’ve found that I’m at my least productive when I’m trying to write in my apartment. If I’m on the couch, I’ll be too tempted to turn the television on, and my desk chair is too uncomfortable to entice me to work in my room. If I work at the dining room table, I can be convinced to work, but the table’s rarely clean and we don’t have dining chairs, so it’s a whole production.

On the whole, I’m at my most productive when I can get away a little bit. So I pack up my laptop and go to the lobby of my apartment building, or the roof, depending on the weather. The internet is spotty enough that I’m not even tempted to try and connect and when I am there are enough other people milling about that I won’t pull up tumblr for fear of NSFW things on my dash. So I can unplug and write for a few hours before returning to my apartment for nightly TV.

Writing Music

I still (still!) haven’t put together a writing playlist for That Golf Story, but I have a few Songza stations that I listen to – In an LES Dive Bar, Guitars & PBRs, Art School All-Nighter, the Re-Birth of Alt Pop – that feature drums and rock and the kind of music my MC would play when she’s off the course and behind her drum set. Songs that I can zone out to, and nod my head to, and are perfect for me to get some work done.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Quite a few of my friends have celebrated birthdays recently, so I’ve been going out for drinks and generally helping to celebrate another year of them. I’ve been finalizing my grad school list and plotting to tackle the actual applications without actually doing so.

I’ve also been taking part in my new favorite hobby: shopping for British real estate. I know I can’t actually buy any of those places, but oh boy would it be neat to live in a castle in Scotland or a cozy flat in Brighton, or a renovated church in Sussex.

October is also full of trips and visits with friends and family and I’m so very excited about all of it. Friday morning will see me flying out to Memphis with a few friends, just because! I have no concrete plans while we’re there other than to eat my weight in barbecue and drown myself in booze. I have high hopes that the trip will feel rejuvenating because I really need to get out of town and away from work for a few days.