It’s been fun, RSW!

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. Find the rest of the details HERE.

* How I did on my goal(s) overall.

1. Complete a revision of my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom.
2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far.
3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week.
4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks.
5. Maintain my tan.

I’m pretty excited about what I accomplished this summer. My two most important goals were to finish a major revision of Where Poppies Bloom and finish a first draft of my WiP, The Road So Far. I did both! I barely squeaked by on that first draft; I only just finished the other day, but I FINISHED. 🙂 As far as my reading goals, I averaged just over one YA/adult novel a week, and I averaged just under one MG book (read with my girl) every two weeks. I’m calling that success. And I maintained my tan! #Priorities

* The biggest challenge I faced this summer.

Time management for sure, but I think I did okay. I got A LOT of work done, I had tons of fun with my family, and I got some sleep, too. My DVR is full of all the shows I didn’t have time to watch, but they’ll keep.

* A favorite line from my project OR a word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

The End 

For real. But there was this, too…

“You ready for the final leg?”

She rests her head on my shoulder. “Not really. I’d road trip with you forever, Tucker Morgan”

* Something I love about my WiP. 

The two writing projects I worked on this summer are related. Same characters, same world. A duology, if you will. What I love most about them is the relationship between the two main characters. They start off strangers in Poppies, and by the end of Road, they’ve forged a really special bond, which makes their stories my favorite of any I’ve written.

I can’t wait to read about how Ready. Set. Write! went for you. Don’t forget to share the link of your very last post below!

CP/Beta Match-Up

Okay, RSWers, now that you’ve spent all summer working on your story, you’re going to need some constructive feedback. You’re in luck! This Thursday, August 28th, there will be a beta/CP match-up facilitated by your Ready. Set. Write hosts, Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. There’s no pressure to participate if you’re not ready for feedback, or if you’ve got trusted readers already, but if you’re interested in taking advantage, here’s now it’ll work…

This Thursday, we encourage you to share about your story in a post on your blog. You and other RSW participants will then be able to “shop around” and leave comments on the posts with stories you’re interested in reading. From there, you can decide who might be the best fit and contact them via their blog/Twitter/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.)

And here are some great links on CP/beta relationships, plus some tips on providing and receiving feedback:

5 Things To Know About Working With Beta Readers by The Book Designer

First Readers and Critique Partners by Susan Dennard

Critique Etiquette by Jodi Cleghorn

What Should We Look For in a Beta Reader by Jami Gold

Crafting the Perfect Critique Sandwich by Erin Bowman (for Pub(lishing) Crawl

How to Beta Read by Corrine Jackson

The Critique Partner Relationship: Here’s Looking at You, Kid by YA Buccaneers

Looking forward to hearing all about your projects! 

RSW Update 10

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. Find the rest of the details HERE.

* How I did on last week’s goal(s).

1. Complete a revision of my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. I’m super close, y’all! I wrote 6,783 this week for a total of 70,383 words. (Special thanks, Sara, for cracking the whip and cheering me on during my final push! <3) Five scenes left to write!

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I finished Mary Kubica’s debut, The Good Girl, and loved it. Definitely one to check out if you’re a fan of Gillian Flynn or Heather Gudenkauf. I also read Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, which was well worth the wait — I think it’s my favorite of her three now… So cute!

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… IN PROGRESS! I’m actually kind of failing on this one. We’re STILL working on Rump by Leisl Shurtliff. It’s fantastic and totally unique, but read-aloud time with my girl’s been limited lately.

5. Maintain my tan… YES! We went kayaking twice. Florida is just lovely.

* My goal(s) for this week.

So. We’re going out of town on Wednesday for a family wedding that’s all the way across the country and a pretty big deal (YAY Sammy and Kacie!). But… writing time is going to be scarce. I’m not setting a numeric word count goal, but in a perfect world, I’ll finish my first draft of The Road So Far this week. (Oh my gosh… How terrifying! And amazing! And terrifying!)

* A favorite line from my project OR a word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

I swear to God, my heart grinds to a halt.

I’m faint… Seeing spots… Barely breathing.

Holy. Shit.

There she is, hurrying out the door with this smile that’s all hers, and hauntingly mine.

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

First: Isla and the Happily Ever After. I spent most of my free time on Thursday and Friday binge reading. So worth it, though! Second: Fear of finishing. I’m not sure why I get like this, but when I’m nearing The End of a draft, I get sort of petrified and hesitant to write those last few scenes. It’s not that I’m reluctant to finish because I SO want to finish, and it’s not that I’m dreading revisions because I LOVE revisions. It’s just… the end of my own little era, I guess. Is that weird?

* Something I love about my WiP. 

Everything. We’ve had a good week together. ❤

I can’t wait to read about how Ready. Set. Write! is going for you. Don’t forget to share the link of your latest post below!

In other news, next Monday (August 25th) marks the end of Ready. Set. Write! (Crazy how fast the summer flew by, isn’t it?!) Let’s use that day to give a general report on our overall progress and how we felt about RSW. Sound good?Here’s hoping everyone has high word counts and tons of success to report. 🙂

Also, be on the lookout for more information regarding a beta/CP match-up facilitated by your Ready. Set. Write hosts, Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself!

RSW Update 9

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. Find the rest of the details HERE.

* How I did on last week’s goal(s).

1. Complete a revision of my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. I wrote 5,447 words this week for a total of 63,607 words in the manuscript.

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I read Lisa Schroeder’s The Bridge from Me to You, which was absolutely delightful. Now, I’m reading Mary Kubica’s debut, The Good Girl, and I’m super impressed.

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… IN PROGRESS! Still working on Rump by Leisl Shurtliff — so cute!

5. Maintain my tan… YES! We went to the beach on Thursday and we were in Orlando all weekend, soaking up the sun at the Magic Kingdom. *happy sigh*

* My goal(s) for this week.

Add at least 6K new words to The Road So Far. Mentally ponder plot hole fixes for Where Poppies Bloom (tricky!).

* A favorite line from my project OR a word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

(FYI: This scene takes place at a wedding…)

The song fades into Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On, which strikes me as both borderline inappropriate and hysterically funny, considering the number of old people milling around. From across the room, Bennett gives me a smarmy smile and a thumbs up. His bride’s swaying to the music, wasted, practically riding his leg. Jesus. What are we doing here?

I’m about to comment on the insanity when Callie makes a move for our table.

I grab her hand. “You’re not gonna dance with me?”

“I thought you hated me,” she says, scrunching her face into a scowl. 

“And I thought you knew better.” I lace my fingers through hers and pull her against me. She winds an arm around my neck, pressing her cheek to mine. I hold her so close we pretty much are getting it on.

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

I hadn’t anticipated doing much of anything, writing-wise, over the last week because we had tons of family stuff going on. So, I’m patting myself on the back for adding to my WiP at all. 🙂

  
Our little family is complete again! Plus, my girlie started cheerleading!

* Something I love about my WiP. 

I’ve got THE END in my sights! I suck at conclusions, but I’m getting there, and I’m SO excited to wrap this draft up so I can start fixing it. 🙂 Also, did you see the mood board I made for The Road So Far? I posted about it HERE.

I can’t wait to read about how Ready. Set. Write! is going for you. Don’t forget to share the link of your latest post below!

RSW Update 8

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. Find the rest of the details HERE.

~ I will do my best to respond to comments on today’s post, as well as blog hop to comment on all of your wonderful posts, BUT… My husband’s coming home from a 6 month deployment this morning! We’re obviously very excited and we’ll definitely be busy. I’ll be back to blogging 100% next week. 🙂 ~

* How I did on last week’s goal(s).

1. Complete a revision of my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. Moving right along! I wrote 6,680 words this week (6K was my goal) for a total of 58,160 words for the manuscript. Thirteen (planned) scenes and five (planned) chapters left to write!

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Not the sort of book I’m used to reading, but I LOVED it. Thanks to my mom and my sister-in-law for the recommendation!

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… IN PROGRESS! We’re working on Rump by Leisl Shurtliff. It’s awesome!

5. Maintain my tan… YES! We spent Friday swimming at the nearby AFB pool, and on Saturday I mowed the grass. Again. I like neat, trim lawns. 🙂

* My goal(s) for this week.

This week is going to be very busy. My husband’s coming home, my daughter starts cheerleading, and we’re spending the weekend in Orlando. So, I’m going to give myself a break and not set a concrete goal because, honestly, I don’t feel like stressing about it. This week, forward motion’s where it’s at

* A favorite line from my project OR a word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

From The Road So Far

It’s not long before we’re approaching the Colorado River. It’s preceded by a big sign with Arizona’s state flag, a golden star surrounded by rays of red and yellow. The Grand Canyon State Welcomes You, it declares. Callie takes my hand as we cross the border. She’s smiling, but she looks anxious too. I get it. If ever we’ve had a there’s no going back moment, this is it. We’re driving blind now, into a state that none of us has even visited, searching for a person who might’ve left years ago. We’re setting ourselves up for disappointment, for failure, and I’m leading the charge with my dumbass flag flapping proudly in the breeze.

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

Busyness! My daughter’s seventh birthday was yesterday (*sniffle*) and we spent the whole day doing fun, girlie things. Also, we’ve been going-going-going with homecoming preparations. Writing time was hard to come by.

* Something I love about my WiP. 

I love that I can feel my story challenging me, and making me a better writer. (Is that weird? Whatever… It’s totally true!)

And, finally, a big congrats to our last Writer’s Care Package giveaway winner… Leandra Wallace! 

I can’t wait to read about how Ready. Set. Write! is going for you. Don’t forget to share the link of your latest post below!

RSW Update 7

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Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. Find the rest of the details HERE.

* How I did on last week’s goal(s).

1. Complete a revision of my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. I passed 50K, and wrote just over 10K words total for the week. Feeling really good about my momentum!

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I finished Lindsay Currie and Trisha Leaver’s upcoming debut, Creed. I also read Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. Guys, this series is totally incredible! If you haven’t read it, get on that. The final installment comes out in September!

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… YES! We read The Space Between, a Never Girls (Tinker Bell) book. We also stared Rump by Leisl Shurtliff — so clever and fun!

5. Maintain my tan… YES! We spent last Thursday swimming at the pool, and on Friday I mowed our enormous lawn.

* My goal(s) for this week.

Add at least 6K words to The Road So Far.

* A favorite line from my project OR a word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

The four of us make our way to the room, labeled Jungle Rocks. I crack up laughing as soon as I swing the door open. The carpet’s bright blue and so is the ceiling, the comforters look like zebra pelts, the walls are made of rock, and there’s a shiny leather sofa which, I suspect, has a sullied past.

Drew nudges me. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“That we’ve inadvertently stepped onto the set of a ’70s porn shoot?”

He chuckles. “It’s like we’re riding the same wave length. And to think… I forgot to pack my 8 millimeter.”

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

Two things… The first: Research. I’m writing a road trip book, so every single chapter is set in a different place. I’ve been combing Wiki and YouTube like crazy, which is slowing me down. And the second: Mom Guilt. I want to write, write, write, but my kiddo can’t sit in front of the TV all day. I’m trying find balance.

* Something I love about my WiP. 

I complained about all of that road trip research above, but it’s part of what makes this WiP so fun. Every scene is different and new and exciting!

In other news… July is the month of RSW giveaways! 
Congrats to last week’s winner… Jessica Leake!
(Jessica, shoot me an email with your mailing address and I’ll get your package sent out right away! katy.upperman@live.com)

During the four weeks of July, ErinJaimeAlison, and I will be giving away some spectacular Writer’s Care Packages. All you have to do to be eligible to win is participate in Ready. Set. Write! and enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

***NOTICE: We’ve changed the entry process in order to make it easier and quicker… You no longer need to provide a link for each of your entries, though we will be verifying the winner’s participation upon selection.

This week, Alison’s giving away… A journal, sage and citrus reed diffuser, Post-Its, highlighters, gummi bears, Werther’s candies, index cards, Myndology cards, a note pad that reads I am so proud and jealous of you, DFTBA plaque, and, because she hope everyone’s having one, one of her favorite boy books, Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz.

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I can’t wait to read about how Ready. Set. Write! is going for you. Don’t forget to share the link of your latest post below!

RSW Update 6

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and myself. Find the rest of the details HERE.

* How I did on last week’s goal(s).

1. Complete a revision of my contemporary-ish YA, Where Poppies Bloom.

2. Complete the first draft of my contemporary YA, The Road So Far, by the close of RSW… IN PROGRESS. I did a complete read-through of the 39K I already had, cleaned it up, and added another 2K words.

3. Read (on average) one YA/adult novel per week… YES! I read Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian and thought it was excellent. I’m now reading the creepfest that is Lindsay Currie and Trisha Leaver’s upcoming debut, Creed.

4. Read (on average) one MG novel with my daughter every two weeks… YES! We finished The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. This was a reread for me, but the first time my daughter has heard the story. She loved it like I do.

5. Maintain my tan… YES! We spent last Thursday at the pool on the AFB near our home. I love swimming with my girl!

* My goal(s) for this week.

Write every day. Add at least 6K new words to my WiP. Brainstorm conflict issues with Alison (and hope she has a solution for my problems!).

* A favorite line from my project OR a word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

(I had an f-bomb riddled excerpt here initially, but at the last minute I swapped it out for a sweet one. Why am I totally comfortable cussing like a sailor in stories [and in real life], but not on my blog?)

I edge across the expanse of mattress between us and brush her long hair off her face. She shifts. Her eyes don’t open, but her hand relaxes, releasing its bundle of sheet, and she reaches with purple-tipped fingers to brush my arm. She does it in sleep, on an instinct ingrained in her unconscious mind, and I feel minutely better because even when she’s dead to the world, she’s still confident that I’m an arm’s length away. 

* The biggest challenge I faced this week.

This was a FUN challenge, though still a challenge… I beta read Jennifer Pickrell’s fantastic contemporary YA romance, and I kind of wanted to work on her story more than I wanted to work on my own writing. Oops. 🙂

* Something I love about my WiP. 

My MC, Tucker. I think he’s my favorite of all the book boys I’ve written. He’s just so inherently good, and he adores his girlfriend so completely. He’s High School Katy’s dream boy (and not so dissimilar from my husband, come to think of it).

In other news… July is the month of RSW giveaways! 
Congrats to last week’s winner… Stephanie Allen!
Two Stephanies in a row! If that’s your name too, the odds of winning this week are forever in your favor. 😉

During the four weeks of July, ErinJaimeAlison, and I will be giving away some spectacular Writer’s Care Packages. All you have to do to be eligible to win is participate in Ready. Set. Write! and enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway!

***NOTICE: We’re changing the entry process in order to make it easier and quicker… You no longer need to provide a link for each of your entries, though we will be verifying the winner’s participation upon selection.

This week, I’m giving away a fantastic package including an owl mug, chai tea, dark chocolate, Smarties, a “Think. Write. Create.” journal, a candle, owl notecards, pens, lip balm, and the latest Writer’s Digest.

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I can’t wait to read about how Ready. Set. Write! is going for you. Don’t forget to share the link of your latest post below!

What’s Up Wednesday

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“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. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and and Siobhan Vivian, which I’m loving (no surprise — I’m a huge fan of both authors). I’m also beta reading for Jennifer Pickrell. Her contemporary YA has been delightful so far.

What I’m Writing: Now that my Where Poppies Bloom revision is complete, I’m back to working on my road trip manuscript, The Road So Far. Normally I much prefer revising to drafting, but after the challenges Poppies presented, I am more than happy to be pounding out new words. More about it all HERE.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I’ve skipped the last few What’s Up Wednesdays because things have been crazy with family and revisions and life, but I’m happy to be back. Here’s what’s been keeping me busy…

   
We spent Independence Day at the (insanely crowded) beach with my parents, Nana and Poppy, and then we met up with my brother and his girlfriend for BBQ and chocolate cake.


We had tons of fun hanging with Nana and Poppy in humid Florida for a week. 🙂

   
I spent last week shuttling my girlie to and from Zoo Camp, which she loved. (Win-win for Mama, who had tons of extra revising time!)


And, we’ve been taking advantage of Destin’s shopping, restaurants, and beautiful sunsets.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Author Sara Zarr‘s “This Creative Life” podcast. I’m new to podcasts (if you have any recs, please do leave them in the comments!), but I’ve been catching up with this one obsessively. It’s awesome because it’s about as close as I’ll ever get to having a National Book Award finalist as a personal mentor. Sara is so wise and gracious and real, and I’ve learned so much from her and her guests (Stephanie Perkins, Nina LaCour, Siobhan Vivian, Nova Ren Suma, Sarah Dessen and Bennet Madison, to name a few). The conversations she has about creativity and balance and why/how/when creative people do what they do make me feel so… normal. And inspired. And like part of a community. All of the anxiety and doubt and fear and joy that’ve bounced around in my head as I try (and try and try) to get published are pretty standard, it seems. If you’ve yet to give “This Creative Life” a listen, I highly recommend it.  

Tell me… What’s up with you today?