What’s Up Wednesday

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you.

{Please make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, other participants can visit your blog and check out what you’ve been up to. In that same spirit, I urge you to visit as many new blogs as you can every Wednesday. The most awesome aspect of What’s Up Wednesday and Ready. Set. Write is that they include a built-in support system. Let’s make sure we’re rooting each other on and offering as much encouragement as we can. Who knows… You might make an awesome new writing buddy, or a find a fantastic beta reader, or hook up with an amazing critique partner!}

And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: Last week I read Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley, a cute (though slightly predictable) contemporary story about a rich city girl who, thanks to the recession and her laid-off daddy), is forced to move in with her grandparents in a small Texas town. She meets people different from herself and has to reprioritize a bit. Shenanigans and profound personal growth ensue.

I also read On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves, which I checked out from the library because I’ve heard tons of good things about it. What I knew of the concept (Anna, thirty-year-old teacher, and T.J, sixteen-year-old cancer survivor, engage in a romantic relationship on a deserted island) squicked me out at first. But never fear — Anna and T.J. spend a long time on the island (years) and there’s a lot of maturing and growing and bonding that takes place before they ever consider each other anything more than survival buddies. Hard to believe, but their eventual romance (which is legal and tasteful and pretty darn hot) is totally believeable. I was genuinely rooting for Anna and T.J. until the very last pages of their story. On the Island reminded me a bit of The Blue Lagoon, and the writing is excellent — sparse but emotional. Recommend!

What I’m Writing: Oh, my WiP… What a beast. I surpassed last week’s goal of 3,000 words with 5,004 words, for a total of 43,504. So, that’s awesome. But. The other day on the elliptical, I had this crazy epiphany about two of my main characters. I’m thinking one has too much backstory and too many challenges, and all that adversity is making her muddled and hard to relate to. The other character, I think, has it too easy, and that’s making her an obvious “good guy” in a story that shouldn’t have any clear answers as to who’s right and who’s wrong. So… I’ve got some serious revising in my future, but I’m going to hold off for awhile. I want to think through some of the details, so I’m going to push ahead from here, writing as if I’ve already “fixed” these characterization issues, and then I’ll go back and actually fix them later.

But seriously… My story scares me. This week’s goal? Officially, 3,000 words, but I’m really shooting for closer to 4K or 5K. I’m getting eager to get this draft done so I can dive into revising it and making it as close to my vision as possible.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: My kiddo is back in school–yay 1st grade! We’re all adjusting to our new routine, and I’m adjusting to having the house to myself for the better part of the day. Fun, but weird.

Saturday was National Lazy Day (yes, that’s a thing) and I took full advantage by taking a nap, watching a movie, and dragging my family out for dinner. A few months ago, my husband and I agreed to try our best to only eat out only once a week (we were spending so much money at restaurants!), so now when we do go out, it really is a treat. We savored every bite of our Chinese food.

On Sunday, we took a family hike at Garrapata State Park and it was lovely. My girl is a trooper and hoofed it about five miles (lots of uphill!). Plus, she took that totally awesome photo of my husband and me holding our WSU flag. Cougar pride runs deep. 🙂

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Storytelling is getting formulaic. This is an opportunity, a post by Nathan Bransford, in which he advises writers to know “formulas and conventions. Anticipate what your reader will expect will happen. And then pull the rug out.” Dude. I’m trying. Also, a post called 5 Tips to Creating Believable Friendships, which is especially relevant because my WiP revolves around a pair of best friends. And, finally, I’m incredibly inspired by Breaking Bad, which picked back up Sunday night on AMC. I believe it’s one of the best-written shows on television, and Walt’s character arc is amazingly well done. The entire series is a lesson in making things as terrible as possible for characters. I’m super bummed that “all bad things must come to an end.”

So… What’s up with you this week?


46 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday

  1. Tameka says:

    I love this post!!! I keep telling myself I need to join a WuW but then I forget. That hike sounds epic. I’m going hiking for the first time ever very soon and I’m so nervous about it!

    I love that Nathan Bransford post. I think I’ve read it 5 or 6 times already!!!

    Sending you all the good writing juju on your WiP progress, sounds like you’re doing an amazing job so far!!!

    • katyupperman says:

      You should totally do a WUW post, Tameka! It’s a great way to blog without having to put tons of thought and time into content. Perfect for me. 🙂 How’s your writing coming along? Did you get a lot done over the summer?

  2. Liz Parker (@LizParkerWrites) says:

    On the Island sounds interesting–I hadn’t heard of it, and I’m glad you explained it. If I knew what you knew going into it, I’d probably never pick it up. Congrats on surpassing 5k lastweek! I hope you get there again this week, especially with some quiet time at the house. And yay for drafting on even knowing what issues need to be fixed! I’ve been doing a lot of that. I’ll think of something, and go back in Scrivener to make a note then move on. So close!

    • katyupperman says:

      You are SO close, Liz, and you are totally motivating me! Pushing through a draft when I know there are issues is super tough for me, but if I keep going back and revising what I have, I’ll never make any progress.

      I hope you get lots of writing done in the coming week!

  3. Kaitlin Bartlett says:

    I’m totally with you on the whole getting-through-the-first-draft-and-worrying-about-editing-later thing. The deeper I get into my WIP, the more I find little things that I need to change but just don’t have the space in my brain to fix now. I’m keeping a list of things to weave into my first round of revisions (whenever that might be), and am just pressing forward.

    Good luck with your crazy (but attainable!) goals for the week, Katy! And congrats to your first grader! I remember loving first grade, and I hope she does too. 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, Kaitlin, I have SO MANY issues to address.Pushing through the first draft when I know there are issues is super hard for me, but if I keep going back and revising what I have, I’ll never make any progress. Here’s to fearless drafting!

      Best of luck with your writing this week!

  4. Rebecca B says:

    I missed National Lazy Day? Whaaat?!
    I read On the Island earlier this year, and I really enjoyed it. It did remind me of Island of the Blue Dolphins, which was always one of my faves!
    Congrats on beating your word-count goals!

    • katyupperman says:

      Yes, come to think of it, ON THE ISLAND reminded me of ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS too. Only, you know, the former is far sexier than the later. 🙂 Best of luck with your goals this week, Rebecca!

  5. Jennifer Pickrell says:

    Ah, yes, those epiphanies 🙂 It’s awesome that you got one in the middle of the draft, though, so you have time to mull things over.

    ON THE ISLAND has been on my TBR-list for awhile, I may pick that up on my next trip to the library.

    • katyupperman says:

      You should read ON THE ISLAND, Jennifer. I’m interested to hear other opinions. It’s on lots of bestseller lists, but I can’t help but wonder if I’m a little crazy for liking it so much. I don’t know… Something about Anna and T.J. really spoke to me.

      Anyway… Best of luck with your writing goals this week!

  6. Rebekah says:

    First, I LOVE your pictures! The hiking ones and the lazy day tea one. I want to do both now instead of go film with nine teenagers today. I am thoroughly intrigued by the tid-bits you post about your WiP, so WHEN you finish, if you are in need of a reader, please think of me. Just throwing that out there.

    • katyupperman says:

      Aww, thank you, Rebekah. I will most definitely think of you, if this beast is ever ready to see the light of day. 🙂 Best of luck with your goals for the week. Let’s meet up for some Twitter writing!

  7. Carrie-Anne says:

    Good luck with your writing goals and planned future revisions. I’m with you on preferring to finish a draft first and then eventually go back and revise, polish, rewrite, and edit. I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those people who can simultaneously write and revise!

    • katyupperman says:

      Carrie-Anne, sadly, finishing a draft before revising is not really my preferred method. But, I’ve come to the realization that if I don’t push through this first draft, I’ll NEVER finish the thing. So, that’s what I’m trying my best to do.

      Best of luck with your writing this week!

  8. Jessica Silverstein says:

    I know what you mean about writing as though you’d already fixed things–my draft is littered with margin comments where I had little epiphanies about things I’d already written that I realized were wrong, but I know if I try to go back and fix things I will NEVER finish this story.

    • katyupperman says:

      “I know if I try to go back and fix things I will NEVER finish this story.” <– Yes! That is totally the realization I've come to. The mistakes and issues are driving me crazy, but I'm trying REALLY hard to pretend they're not there. Otherwise, I'll be revising half a story forever.

      Best of luck with your writing this week, Jess!

  9. Kate Scott says:

    Good luck balancing out your characters. Making minor characters fully formed and interesting is one of the hardest parts of writing and at least for me is often what makes the book worth reading. It sounds like you are well on your way there.

    • katyupperman says:

      I totally agree, Kate! Minor characters are often my favorite, and I try really hard to make my own supporting people layered and complex. It’s a major challenge, but one I think is definitely worth the trouble.

  10. April says:

    I love all your book recommendations…thanks! There are several of your recs that are currently waiting for me to pick up at the library. My 1st grader, Erika, starts school in two weeks. Can’t believe she is going to be out of my sight for so long during the day! But I am so excited for her and she can’t wait to get back to her friends….and school too I hope!

    • katyupperman says:

      Best of luck to Erika as she starts first grade, April! It is so strange to have them away for so long, but in our case, I think it’s good for C to have a break from mama. We spend A LOT of time together. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what you think of the books you have on hold… You’ll have to keep me posted!

  11. Jaime Morrow says:

    Sounds like the elliptical is great for epiphanies. I think your approach to working these ideas into your story is a good one. Keep pushing forward! (Though, I know how hard it is not to go back and make changes.) I also get what you mean about your story scaring you. I feel like that very often with my own WIPs. I will never grow tired of the photos you share, Katy. So great! Have a fantastic week, friend! 😀

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Jaime! I keep telling myself that my story SHOULD be scary (in the nonliteral, non-horror kind of way), otherwise it would probably just be boring. Right? RIGHT?! 😉

  12. Rebecca Barrow says:

    I love anything with shenanigans, so I think I might have to check out WHERE I BELONG! I love epiphanies, especially when they come at random moments, and I think it sounds as if you’re on the right track to getting your story where you want it to be. Yay!

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks, Rebecca! I hope you like WHERE I BELONG. It was a cute story, and the main character traveled a pretty satisfying arch. Let me know what you think!

  13. Alexa says:

    Oh I love that quote! I think I sometimes approachy story as if it’s going to blow up in my face – one wrong plot line and poof!

    Great photos it looks like you’ve been having a great time. Although I can’t believe I missed National Lazy Day!

    I might check out The Island after your recommendation. I have to admit I’d heard about it and thought it sounded a bit icky, but you make it sound good.

    Have a great week and good luck with your goals!

    • katyupperman says:

      Yeah, no, ON THE ISLAND isn’t icky — at least I didn’t think so. The relationship, while unconventional, is understandable and really well written. Let me know if you decide to read it. I’d love to hear your opinion, Alexa!

  14. Krispy says:

    I love story epiphanies, but ah, it can make pushing forward hard! I’m rooting for you though!

    I loved seeing your pics of Garrapata State Park! It’s so beautiful, and you and your hubs are adorable. Do you carry around a Cougar flag normally?? 🙂

    My sister was dying over Breaking Bad too. I really need to watch that show, even though I was majorly spoiled for a lot of it at Comic Con, haha. We caught the panel and they showed a recap reel for the entire show. It’s ok though; I’m still interested.

    • katyupperman says:

      Though we probably SHOULD carry our Coug flag around with us regularly, we don’t. Normally it hangs in a place of honor in our garage, but it made a special trip out to Garrapata just for a photo op. That’s how we do it. 🙂

      I’m sad that Breaking Bad was spoiled for you (it has some of the very best WTF moments!), but I still think you should watch it. It’s an exceptional show!

  15. Amy Brashear says:

    Thanks for posting those articles, they are very helpful. The water in that picture looks so blue. I haven’t seen Breaking Bad but I guess since the show is about to end it will be easy to marathon. Good luck with your writing goals. Have a great weekend!

  16. Rachel (writes things/007) says:

    Gaaaaaaaaah I forgot it was WUW! I forgot my post! Wonder if I can post it tomorrow and just link. Hmmm…

    You know, ON THE ISLAND has been my list for ages. I really need to get on it, especially since you loved it so much. (I feel we generally have similar taste).

    Congrats on C starting 1st grade. I really loved 1st grade – really learning to read (I was a bit behind when it came to that stuff 🙂 ) and making new friends and keeping old ones, and new subjects too. 🙂 Hope she likes it too!

    • katyupperman says:

      I think we do have similar taste, Rachel, which means we both have AMAZING taste, obviously. 🙂 Let me know if you read ON THE ISLAND. I really did think it was fab. Hope you have a great week, lady!

  17. Adrianne says:

    How the heck did I miss National Lazy Day?! If I had my way, that would be celebrated every day. But it wouldn’t last long because I need pesky stuff like food and shelter.

    Great job on your WIP! I’ve really appreciated the writing support from everyone on Twitter for Ready.Set.Write, it’s definitely helped me stay on track.

    • katyupperman says:

      Writing at night with Twitter buddies has been the *best.* I would be nowhere near as far along without the moral support (and fun!) of you guys! Best of luck with your writing this week, Adrianne!

  18. Elodie says:

    Those pictures are GREAT! 🙂 And that lazy day sounds pretty amazing, I must say 🙂

    I cannot wait to read your novel Katy and I´m inspired by how hard you´re working and all those links you shared 🙂

    And of course, I now must add ON THE ISLAND to my TBR!

  19. Temre Beltz says:

    Fantastic job on exceeding your writing goal this week, Katy! And at 43,000 words you are doing AMAZING! I am so, SO excited for this story! It sounds like it’s seemed a bit overwhelming at times this week and, as your friend, I wish I could make it all easy BUT (also as your friend!), I think it’s just all the more reason that this story is going to tap into your writing talents even more and produce something unforgettable and exquisite. Yay, Katy!

    I loved seeing the pictures from your hike this week, and hearing about how you’ve been enjoying your well-deserved extra free time while your sweet girl is having a blast in first grade 🙂 My girlies start back in just two weeks now! The first time ever E will be gone five days a week! It will definitely be an adjustment, but I know she’s going to love it. Also, that Nathan Bransford article was fantastic! I used to read his posts all the time when I first started researching the world of publishing, but it had been awhile 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing, and hope you have a great week, Katy!

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Tem. Yes, this story has been overwhelming to say the least. It’s a big challenge, but it’s keeping me engaged, and that’s exciting. I’m just hoping that I can do the idea that’s been in my head justice once it’s all out on the page.

      Best of luck to your girlies as they get ready for the new school year! So exciting for them, and for their mama, I’m sure! Have a great weekend, Tem!

  20. Stephanie Scott says:

    Ooh, love Breaking Bad. I did a post about it and how to pull out anti-hero traits in fiction writing. That is one show where the hour just flies by. (that and Justified).

    I hope you’re able to use your daytime hours to get your draft done. I know that feeling when you’re close to the end and itching to revise. Keep at it! Looking forward to more updates.

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Stephanie. You’re right – Breaking Bad episodes do fly by… I adore that show! I’ll definitely go searching for the post you mentioned. 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend!

  21. Alison Miller says:

    So, I definitely need to read ON THE ISLAND. I’ve heard about it before, put it on the TBR, and forgot about it. THANK YOU for reminding me about this one! Also, yes – every time I get in the second half of a story, the WiP seems ridiculously scary. I have a lot of loose appendages extending out of the blob that need to be reined back in or tamed and sculpted. So this: “I’m getting eager to get this draft done so I can dive into revising it and making it as close to my vision as possible.” ME TOO

    Also, please don’t tell my family about National Lazy Day. They would turn it into National Lazy Month. Kidding. Maybe. Enjoy the time at home!

    • katyupperman says:

      “I have a lot of loose appendages extending out of the blob that need to be reined back in or tamed and sculpted.” <— I love how you worded this… It's exactly what I've been stressing about! I'm going to do my best to avoid getting sucked into revisions until I'm done drafting though. Such a black hole!

      Let me know when you read ON THE ISLAND. I think you'll like it a lot!

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