We’re In New Yooork…Well, Almost!

Writing Song of the Day: “Empire State of Mind” Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys

Taken from: SCBWI

Yep, you read that right. We’re about to take our SECOND trip to New York. The first didn’t really count since it was one of those day trips on a bus. This time, we’re gonna spend a WHOLE weekend there. And we’re gonna be amongst our brethren, other writers! We are attending our very first, SCBWI New York Conference.

While we’ve gone to the LA conference four years in a row, we wanted to change things up this year and try out the New York winter conference. We’re hoping to take in NY on Friday, experience the whirlwind conference on Saturday, and hop back on the plane Sunday. The goal of attending the conference is to get our mojos going again. With the hectic schedules of our lives, our writing has definitely suffered. We want to get to work on revising our 2013 NaNo novels and hopefully the panels and keynote speakers will inspire us to get our crap together.

Don’t worry, we’ll tweet and Instagram throughout the weekend and give you a brief wrap up when we get back next week. Yes, we’ve given you promises before on this blog that we haven’t kept…but this one we promise to keep. Promise. We swear on all that is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And you all know how we feel about him!

Taken From: http://fashionvertigo.com/joseph-gordon-levitt-covers-out-october-2013/

Cuz We Write: The Remix

Writing Song of the Day: “The Phoenix” by Fall Out Boy

Taken from Forbes.com

This seems vaguely familiar, huh? Don’t adjust your blog roll…wait, is it even still called that?

Anyway, WE’RE BACK! And we’re all changed and new and shiny. We’re ready to get back into this blogging thing and keep you guys up-to-date on our lives because we know you care.

We’re so close to 2014 and with that in mind, we’ve been remixing our lives since last spring. How so? Well, if you really wanna know…

  • We left our former jobs! That’s right, we got out of the classroom and the school building. We’re both working on doctoral degrees (Pam full time at The College of William and Mary, Quita part time at Old Dominion University–shifting to The George Washington University) and Quita took a promotion to work in a school system’s administrative offices. 
  • We changed our eating habits–once again. All summer, and throughout the fall, we tried eating clean. It worked well at first (we both lost around 7-8 pounds) and then we gained all of that weight back. Something wasn’t clicking so we’ve gone back to a low carb lifestyle. So far, so good.
  • AND, did you see our new banner? Yeah, that was created by our second sistah from another mistah, Natalie Henry (recently featured The Huffington Posted for a Hunger Games themed wedding–ahhh!) and it’s perfect for our newly remixed minds.
  • Finally (and this is one we wanted to tell you about a month ago) we rewrote both of our very first novels for NaNoWriMo this year. Pam worked on a new version of WANTS to get to know her characters again and Quita revisited a novel set in the 1960s called CHASING MANSON (a novel adaptation of a screenplay we actually wrote together). 

Whew! That’s a lot of changes…Oh! And another big one–we moved for the SECOND time within four months. We just can’t stay settled. Who knows, in a few months we may be updating you all on more changes.

So there you have it. All of our changes. What have you remixed in your life lately?

NaNo Update #1

Writing Song of the Day: “Half Alive” by Secondhand Serenade

So, we stole this idea from the awesome Katy Upperman. We had planned to give you all weekly updates on our NaNo novels but…well, we were doing ALL THE THINGS in addition to writing our NaNo novels. Since we both have crossed over the halfway point (woo hoo!), we felt this was a good time to let you all know how we’re doing…

Pam’s Update:

Progress (word count or a general status update): 26,404

Current Mood: Hungry. A bit overwhelmed. But, surprisingly, I still like my story.

Inspiration: Not a quote from anyone–but this is the first time during NaNo that I’ve written a story that I ACTUALLY believe that I’ll return to and revise. In fact, I can’t wait to start revising it!

Goals as of Today: I usually try to reach at least 2000 words, but I’m a little stuck. So tonight, I plot a little more and make up the word count over the weekend.

Recent Favorite NaNo WIP Bit:

“I see you didn’t have to go far for your costume.” I tug at his basketball jersey. I actually tug it. I guess a beer and a half does wonders to my confidence.

Brandon shrugs. “Lots of kids want to be basketball players when they grow up.”

“Lots of kids want to be Brandon Lane when they grow up,” I correct.

Non-NaNo News (because life DOES go on): Well, Quita and I had the AWESOME opportunity of seeing one of our favorite actors, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in person (more on that next week)! In less exciting news, I injured my foot in an accident last month, and it’s still bugging me. Alas, I have to report to the doctor next week to see what’s going on. Boo.
  
In my downtime (ha!) I’m reading: I’ve been starting and abandoning lots of novels lately–with hopes that I can return to them once I get some extra time (because THAT will happen). I most recently cracked open Ellen Hopkins’ adult novel, Triangles. So good so far!!  

Quita’s Update:  

Progress (word count or a general status update): Over 26K

Current Mood: Agitated that I can’t just write and instead must be responsible. However, I am also getting excited about where my novel is going.

Inspiration: Two words: Five Guys.

Goals as of Today: I want to try and get at least 4k done by the end of this weekend.

Recent Favorite NaNo-WiP Bit:

“What do you know about voices?”

Walker tapped his chin. “Like cartoon voices? I’m pretty sure I know who talks Bart Simpson.”

Kenzie laughed. “No…like, voices, voices.”

Walker stopped walking and stared at Kenzie. “Like, voices in your head and sh*t? Like schizophrenia?”

Kenzie continued to walk, already regretting that she said anything to Walker.

Non-NaNo News (because life DOES go on): We just saw JGL LIVE last night. Also, I’m working on finding more internship opportunities in the publishing world.

In My Downtime (ha!) I’m Reading: Rage Within (Dark Inside # 2) by Jeyn Roberts. Proving to be just as good as the first book!

Both of Our Updates:

You should read this blog post: Shady Business by the uber smart literary agent, Sarah LaPolla. A very informative look at the legitimacy of newer agents and publishers.

Gratuitous Photograph (because we love ‘em!):

Joseph Gordon-Levitt at The National in Richmond, VA (11/15/12)
The moment where Quita lost it & cried…

For all of our fellow NaNo-ers out there, how are you doing? For the non NaNo-ers, what have you all been up to?

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Revising Song of the Day: “The Space Between” by the Dave Matthews Band

So, something interesting happened this past weekend–
ME: I don’t feel like revising my thesis.
QUITA: Me neither.
ME: (thinks) Hey–I never read my NaNo WIP from last year.
QUITA: Hmm, me neither.
ME: Want to do that?
QUITA: (shrugs) Whatever.
And so that’s what we did. To read about me and Quita’s NaNo 2010 novels, you can click here. Or, if you’re lazy like me, I’ll save you the extra click–I wrote about fairies, and she wrote about genies. You see, we wanted to write outside of our comfort zones, so we both decided to write supernatural YA stories. And you know what we found out?
They weren’t THAT awful.
Of course, they’re by no means perfect either. It’s just that while we were writing them, we both whined about getting words on that paper. We both declared that they had to be the worst things that we’ve written. Ever. But as I read through my first draft, I found myself laughing at parts that were meant to be funny. I found myself flipping the page to see what will happen next.
So what does that mean?
Just what pretty much everyone else has confirmed. Time away from your WIPs is absolutely crucial. You need to be able to see your writing with a fresh pair of eyes. My first step in revising is: Read your story for personal enjoyment. Pretend that this is a story that you’ve chosen from a bookshelf, sit back, and just read it like you’re a fan.
Now what? Well, I do what I do before I review any other book. I look at what works and what doesn’t work. I think about the characters: do they sound the same? Are they all needed? What are their motivations? I consider the plot and whether or not the story builds to a worthy climax, and if it results in a satisfactory ending.
So yeah, I think Quita and I both plan on revising these babies now. And I can’t speak for Quita, but this revision might just be for me. I won’t worry about submissions and whether or not there’s room in the marketplace for my little fairy story. And sometimes, when you’re writing just for fun, the work really shines through.
What about you all? Have you fallen in love with a project again that you haven’t read in forever?

We Did It!!

Celebrating Song of the Day: “Oops!…I Did it Again…” by Britney Spears

Saturday, November 26, 2011 is a date that will live in infamy…at least in the household of two greedy, sleep-deprived cousins. You see, we managed to collect this:

That’s right–Quita and I won our second NaNoWriMo challenge! Can we get a woot woot? How about a little dance?

Thanks.
So yeah, my contemporary YA (with a hint of magical realism), So Now You Are Cursed, clocked in at a lovely 56,441 words. And Quita’s contemporary YA, The Captive Soul, ended at an awesome 57,205 words. So, as promised, we treated ourselves to this:

I tell you, victory has never tasted so sweet.
We thought last year’s NaNoWriMo was difficult, but this year was a pure juggling act. I had to work on revisions for another novel, while Quita started up a part-time job (in addition to her full-time one of yelling at…I mean, TEACHING high schoolers). Not to mention everyday we pretty much wanted to punch our WIPs in the face. But with will power, and the thought of chowing down on some Five Guys grub, we got through it.
So now what?
Well, we’re going to ignore our stories for a while–and by a while, I mean MONTHS. Then we’re going to eventually draft ideas for our next WIPs. But most importantly, we’re going to READ like it’s going out of style.
What about you all? Have you finished NaNo yet (if you participated, of course)? What are you going to do with your WIPs once you’re finished? But most importantly, how are you going to REWARD yourselves? 🙂

NaNo Check In: Almost to the Prize!!!

Writing Song of the Day: “Race for the Prize” by The Flaming Lips
Morning, peeps 😀
We hope you didn’t miss us too much last week. As we stated, we had to take a week-long break from blogging to focus on other matters. One of those matters is getting through NaNo and conquering that pesky challenge for the second year in a row.
We’re both writing novels that we were sooooo excited to start (you can read more about them here , here and here), but now? Well, we’re ready to throw all 25k (and counting) words out of the window…and let a car roll over them.
We’re sure we’re not the only ones hating our NaNo novels, right now. And if we are, just indulge us and pretend that you’re just as frustrated, ‘kay? Anyway, we wanted to let you all know where we stand with our novels and also hear how you’re doing with yours.
OH! And we forgot to mention the prize that we’ve agreed upon if we are
successful with NaNo this year. What is it, you ask?? Drum roll please….
A MEAL FROM FIVE GUYS!!!!
Sound familiar? Yes, it is very similar to the prize we granted ourselves last year. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
So, tell us–how are you doing with your NaNo novel and what’s your prize waiting for you November 30th??

We’ll Be Right Back…

Writing Song of the Day: “Right Back At Ya” by The Spice Girls


**Due to NaNoing, the start of a new nine weeks at work, and revising other projects, we are going to be MIA for the next week. Don’t fret, we’ll be back before you know it!**

Happy NaNoing and/or other writing or reading!!!