Accountability Monday (Again…on Tuesday!): NaNOT So Much

To keep ourselves on task with all the things (outside of academia and our day jobs) we’ve decided to join in with Alicia and her accountability posts each Monday. Usually, we’ll share our successes and failures from the previous week and upcoming goals. If you too need something to keep yourself honest, feel free to join in.

November seems to be the month for ERE’Thing. Not only are we both teaching, but Pam’s getting her job interview on, and Quita has a conference to prepare for in CA and two class projects due this month. So…even co-authoring a project doesn’t seem to be the remedy to our # 1 issue, y’all: TIME. Can we please get some more of that?? With all that being said, we still feel like this is true:

So, we might not be on track with NaNo, but that doesn’t mean we’re giving up on this co-authored project. As soon as we find the time, we’ll get back on track and get that book out of us! What about you guys–how’s it going? Also, don’t forget to check out Alicia’s blog!

R.S.W! FINAL Check In

It’s not like we have enough to do, right? Right. So we’ve decided to join the Ready. Set. Write! crew this summer and set some realistic goals for ourselves. If you wanna play along click on the link above to venture to Katie Upperman’s blog (one of the hosts along with Alison Miller, Jamie Morrow, Erin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij) and find all the deets about the summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting, accountability, and camaraderie.

Although our summer officially ended last week, RSW has now marked the “end” of our writer-ly summer. Thus, it’s time for us to do our final RSW check-in. We figured we’d tell you all how we did on the goals we set at the VERY beginning of this journey back in June. And if we can comment freely, we’d like to say we handled these goals

Tee hee. So, seriously without further ado…

Pam’s Goals (and results) for Summer 2015:

  1. Finish revisions on my YA thriller, THROUGH OUR TEETH–> Completed and Awesome Agent-approved. CHECK! 🙂
  2. Write at least 15k words of a new WIP–> Who would’ve thought that revisions, traveling, working, and preparing to start a dissertation would leave such little time to write a first draft? Nonetheless, though I may not have written 15K, I’m at a good starting place to knock out this draft in time for NaNoWriMo!
  3. Read at least 5 books–> Sheesh, see response to goal number 2. BUT…I only fell one book short. This summer reminded me how essential reading is to my writing (as well as how much I love it), so I’ll certainly make reading a priority even during my fall semester.
  4. Exercise 3-4 times a week (including running!)–> I’d call this goal a win considering I even managed to exercise while on vacay. I need to go on with my bad self.
  5. Do something FUN or FOR MYSELF at least once each weekend–> This summer has been filled with wine and movies and concerts and museums, oh my. I think I balanced work and play well this summer–and I’d like to continue that during the school year.

Quita’s Goals (and results) for Summer 2015:

  1. Work on revisions of YA contemp novel, YOU WILL LOSE HIM–> After a very tumultuous on and off again love affair this summer, this was completed. I am now beginning to query this novel again 🙂
  2. Plot/ begin writing at least 10k of new WIP–> Some plotting occurred and I pretty much know my characters & what they want; however, I didn’t quite reach 10k. Alas, this can be my NaNo novel, riiiight?
  3. Read 4-5 books–> Read 3 and started the 4th this week…close, very close. I fear with the start of the school year my reading will suffer. I’m gonna work hard to find time to squeeze in reading. Promise.
  4. Less work, more play on the weekends (especially on Sunday) translation: force myself to relax–> I think I got in a lot of “play” this summer. Visiting another country, going to SCBWI, a winery, Busch Garden’s food & wine festival…there have been some fun times!
  5. Exercise at least three times a week (or as often as Pam makes me :/) –> I don’t think Pam and I have ever gone a week without exercising at least three times. This might be something that (again) will suffer due to school & all the things, but maybe we can keep it up. *wishful thinking*

All in all, we think we did pretty well this summer. Of course we didn’t reach some of our goals but if it weren’t for RSW, we’re pretty sure we wouldn’t have finished MOST of these! So, thank you all for holding us accountable, reading our posts, commenting, and being your general awesome selves! ‘Til next time 🙂

R.S.W! Week 10 Check In (That Rhymes…)

Ready. Set. Write! Summer 2015

Taken from Jaime Morrow: RSW

It’s not like we have enough to do, right? Right. So we’ve decided to join the Ready. Set. Write! crew this summer and set some realistic goals for ourselves. If you wanna play along click on the link above to venture to Katie Upperman’s blog (one of the hosts along with Alison Miller, Jamie Morrow, Erin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij) and find all the deets about the summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting, accountability, and camaraderie.

We’re back from our SCBWI extravaganza and we’ve got thangz to report. Ready or not, here it goes:

Pam’s Check In:

  1. Write at least 2000 words for my new WIP–> KINDA done. I became super-inspired during my time at LA SCBWI, so I was able to complete character sketches and a general idea of the synopsis. So while my 2000 words weren’t exactly part of my draft–at least I put in some work for it!
  2. Read half of a new novel during travels to and from LA–>  I actually read MORE than half. I’m a few pages away from the end of Galgorithm by Aaron Karo (which I picked up at the conference bookstore), and it’s that perfect combo of heart and humor. Can’t wait to finish!
  3. Attend a session outside of my comfort zone while at SCBWI –> DONE, yo! I attended a session on writing nonfiction for young adults and teens, and not only did it get the creative juices flowing–I also nabbed a free book (Alice & Freda Forever by Alexis Coe–looks like a creepy, yet awesome, read).
  4. Work out at least once while in LA–> YEP! Quita and I ran…and did not get lost. Possibly because we made sure to just keep circling the hotel this time.

Quita’s Check In:

  1. Settle on a new plan for YOU WILL LOSE HIM & stick with it–>  CHECK! I have created & completed (one more ‘gin) a SHINY NEW plan for this revision. I wholeheartedly intend to stick with it.
  2. Complete character sketches & plotting for WIP–> Character sketch for one MC is complete and I have started plotting the first few chapters; however, Pam heard some G.R.E.A.T advice from Meg Wolitzer at SCBWI that I think I’m going to try for this novel. Thus, plotting has been halted.
  3. Begin reading a new novel–>  I am reading (and enjoying) Stacey Lee’s Under a Painted Sky. While I’m reading for pleasure, since my WIP is historical YA, I’m also taking a few pointers.
  4. Enjoy time @ SCBWI –> If I report on this one too much, I’d end up writing much more than a sentence or two. I LOVED the breakout sessions I attended, keynotes were ON FLEEK (oh, and very inspiring) and getting to spend an entire weekend with Racquel was truly amazing. This goal was definitely achieved.

Our Goals for the Week

Pam:

1. Work on Awesome Agent’s notes for my YA thriller revision.

2. Write at least 1500 words to the actual narrative of my WIP.

3. Work out at least 3 times this week (the heatwave and traveling has given me a case of the blahgitty-blahs).

Quita:

  1. Okay…this is a BIG one. I want…to FINISH my revisions on YWLH by the time I check in next week. GAH!

2. Exercise at least three times

3. Write at least 1k on new historical WIP

One Word/Phrase that Encompasses What We Wrote/Revised:

Pam:

Curiosity. My WIP will be my first time creating new characters in a loooooong time, so I’m wondering where they may take me…

Quita:

Getting there. I was able to actually write some of the novel after coming up with my new plan. This book is my Everest.

Biggest Challenge We Faced This Week:

Pam:

TV. The DVR was filled with guilty pleasures during my trip to LA, so of course I had to empty it, right? Right?!

Quita:

Well, I somehow got bronchitis on the way back from LA so that was fun.

Something We Love About our WIPs/Novels We’re Revising:

Pam:

The NEWNESS of everything. Drafting is usually my least favorite part of the writing process, but I haven’t started a story from scratch in almost two years. Let’s see if I remember how to do this!

Quita:

The various avenues that I can travel with this story/ these characters. I kinda have a one track mind so talking things out with my awesome critique partner/life coach  (i.e. Pam) has helped me remember that I’m the master of this book. *cue wiggly eyebrows*

Wow, another week down! We can’t believe it’s August already! How are you guys coming along with your goals?

R.S.W! Week 8 (Really?!) Check In

Ready. Set. Write! Summer 2015

Taken from Jaime Morrow: RSW

It’s not like we have enough to do, right? Right. So we’ve decided to join the Ready. Set. Write! crew this summer and set some realistic goals for ourselves. If you wanna play along click on the link above to venture to Katie Upperman’s blog (one of the hosts along with Alison Miller, Jamie Morrow, Erin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij) and find all the deets about the summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting, accountability, and camaraderie.

Long time no see! It’s been a hectic two weeks but now we’re ready to share our progress.

Pam’s Check In:

  1. Turn in my revision to Awesome Agent.–>I wish I had an oven timer attached to me because this goal is DONE. And now while I wait to hear from Awesome Agent about my revision, I can get cracking with drafting a new idea.

  2. FINALLY finish reading Paper Towns.–> Again, CHIME. That’s my oven timer, if you couldn’t tell. Now it’s time to search for my next book.

  3. Spend time with friends.–>Not only did Quita and I get to spend time with Racquel, but we get to see her later this week for the SCBWI conference in LA–woo hoo!

Quita’s Check In:

1. Revise at least half of YOU WILL LOSE HIM –>  Closebutnotquite…I almost got to the halfway point and then I fell out of love with the draft again and took a little break to re-plot. I’m definitely having a supreme love/hate relationship with this revision.

2. Hopefully get back to reading–> I successfully finished Laurie Halse Anderson’s Catalyst and will now move on to something new. Woo hoo!

3. Enjoy time with friends (see Pam’s # 3)–> Yay! This was definitely a success. Any time we get to see our sistah Racquel, I’m always happy.

Our Goals for the Week

Pam:

1. Write at least 2000 words for my new WIP.

2. Read half of a new novel during travels to and from LA (book still to be determined).

3. Attend a session outside of my comfort zone while at SCBWI (I’m looking at you picture book and/or nonfiction workshops).

4. Work out at least once while in LA (and hopefully not get lost with Quita during my jog through the city this time).

Quita:

1. Settle on a new plan for YOU WILL LOSE HIM & stick with it (if no writing gets done this week, that’s okay)

2. Complete character sketches & plotting for WIP (maybe start writing this to take a break from revising??)

3. Begin reading a new novel

4. Enjoy the LA SCBWI International Conference!!

One Word/Phrase that Encompasses What We Wrote/Revised:

Pam:

Satisfied. As I’ve mentioned before, the revision was a challenge, but I was overall pleased with the final product.

Quita:

Love-hate. Okay, that’s cheating a little bit…but like I mentioned before, I keep going up and down with this revision so that’s the best I can think of right now.

Biggest Challenge We Faced This Week:

Pam & Quita:

Since we were not able to provide an update last week, there’s no denying that time has once again been our enemy.

Something We Love About our WIPs/Novels We’re Revising:

Pam:

That this round of revisions is DONE…ha!

Quita:

The love part of the love-hate relationship I have for my novel continues to be my female MC. She’s the reason that I keep hanging on. I want to tell her story…I just gotta figure out how.

So that’s all we’ve got this week. What about you guys?

** Also just a quick heads up: Since, as we’ve mentioned, we’ll be in LA for the AWESOME SCBWI conference, we most likely won’t have time to do our check in next Monday. However, we’ll be sure to be around the interwebz to see how you all are doing!**

Ready. Set. Write! Week 2– Progress & Success??

Ready. Set. Write! Summer 2015

It’s not like we have enough to do, right? Right. So we’ve decided to join the Ready. Set. Write! crew this summer and set some realistic goals for ourselves. If you wanna play along click on the link above to venture to Katie Upperman’s blog (one of the hosts along with Alison Miller, Jamie Morrow, Erin Funk, and Elodie Nowodazkij) and find all the deets about the summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting, accountability, and camaraderie.

Last week was the start of Ready. Set. Write! and we set a few goals to get us on a path toward all things writing, reading, and self-care-ing (???). So, how did we do? And what are our NEW goals? Well, ch-ch-check it out!

Pam’s Check In 

  1. How I did on the previous week’s goals:
    1. Finish revisions on my YA thriller–>I have not even begun my revisions yet. HOWEVER, I did manage to finish another writing project this past week.
    2. Write at least 15k words of a new WIP–>See response to goal numero uno. So even though I did not get started on THIS particular project, I still got my creative writing fix.
    3. Read at least 5 books–>Alas, I have not had time to pick up a book this week. I know–the horror! However, I finished All the Rage by Courtney Summers two weeks ago (which was, of course, brilliant), and have my eye on Paper Towns by John Green next. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf FOREVER, so with the movie coming out, I figured now was the perfect time to crack it open.
    4. Exercise 3-4 times a week (including running)–>This week, I tackled ab work, leg work, and dancing. Alas, no running since we’ve been having a heat index of 100 in VA. Blah.
    5. Do something fun for myself at least ONCE each weekend–>If by “fun” you mean begin binge watching Orange is the New Black then BOOM, nailed it.

Quita’s Check In

  1. How I did on the previous week’s goals:
    1. Work on revisions of YA contemp novel–>I was able to begin a smidgeon of revisions (one page counts, right?). I won’t keep it, but it was something.
    2. Plot/ begin writing at least 10k of new WIP–>Yeah, nothing happened there, either. But I swear, I thought about it!
    3. Read 4-5 books–> I finished Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver about two weeks ago and that was amazing. If you haven’t read it, ya need to. Oh, and I’m beta reading…does that count?
    4. Less work, more play on the weekends–> As Pam mentioned, OINTB, BABY!!!
    5. Exercise at least 3xs a week–> Again, same as Pam’s. Exercise was on fleek this week!

2. Our Goals for the Week

Pam:

I’d love to begin reading the former draft of my YA thriller, create character sketches for my WIP, and do some strength training this week.

Quita:

I want to have a clear revision plan for YOU WILL LOSE HIM by the end of the week and also revise at least one scene. I’d also like to plot for my WIP and work on my endurance.

3. One Word/Phrase that Encompasses What We Wrote/Revised:

Pam:

Again, though I didn’t write anything related to my goals, for what I DID write I’d say: Fun. 🙂

Quita:

For the little bit that I did revise (and my thoughts so far about the novel) I’d have to go with: Fragmented.

4. Biggest Challenge We Faced This Week:

Pam:

TIME. I had a lot of work commitments this past week, so that’s why it was so difficult to read for pleasure, as well as get started on my actual writing goals.

Quita:

Of course, I have to agree: Time. There’s never enough. I was in two classes (one just ended–WOO HOO!) and I had to finish up several assignments which made it hard to focus on reading & writing.

5. Something We Love About our WIPs/Novels We’re Revising:

Pam:

Since I haven’t been able to get started on revisions or a new draft, I’d say everything (mainly because I haven’t had time to start hating anything yet) ;p

Quita:

I would say that I still can’t shake the characters and I want to tell their story…even after three or years of drafting & revisions.

What about you all: how y’all doin’?

Blog Series: Two For One (Co-Writing a Project)

A while back we promised a post on how we went about co-writing our MG project. Since writing the book(s) has been a process we decided to turn one post into a series. Yes, we know…consider it our gift to you 🙂

Phase 1: Drafting

What we did: We sat down together to write out the plot, character sketches, and develop the world & setting. Next, we took turns writing chapters one-by-one. One of us would write a chapter, the other would read over it (revise/edit if necessary) get a feel for the voice, and continue the story.

How’d it  turn out?: The first draft needed plenty of work. While our voice was consistent with each other’s (in terms of the writing style), there were places where the story was disjointed and we needed to make the plot flow and hone the MG voice. We also needed to work on pacing and aspects of tone during revisions.

Will we do it the same way next time?: Most likely we will continue to use the same formatting (writing a chapter, sending to the other writer, etc.) for the next project; however, we might possibly tighten the methods that we used when reading each other’s chapters and continuing the story to save time and work during revisions.

Suggestions?: Are there any other co-authors out there who have better methods for drafting a project?