What’s Up Wednesday

Good Afternoon, Readers!  I hope you’re week is going well so far 🙂  As a part of Ready. Set. Write. and because I’m falling in love with these posts, here’s  my third What’s Up Wednesday!

What I’m Reading

red pyramid
Rick Riordan’s Red Pyramid (MG) & Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess (NA)!  Random, I know right?  Well, I’m reading the Red Pyramid because of some very exciting news that I’ll talk about below.  Basically, I’m finally to the point where I can read it, and finally!  He’s one of my favorite authors and one of the few my brother and I both love so it has been hard resisting, but I’m back baby 😉
As for Brooklyn Girls, it’s an ARC and it’s NA, which is why I decided to try it (since I’m in the NA age range).  It’s reminds me of Melissa de la Curz’s Au Pairs (probably combined with the TV show Girls, I can’t say because I don’t watch it), …just working girls trying to make it in “the real world”.  It’s really fresh and cute and fun.  Also, though I haven’t graduated college, I relate wholeheartdly with their experiences/struggles in a way I haven’t for a while with YA.
(my brother let me borrow his copy…
he definitely gave me a “aren’t you too old for this” look when I asked, LOL)

What I’m Writing

DRUMROLL PLESE!!!  – After days of not working on my WIP at all, I finally put in mad work Sunday to complete it!!!

BOI cover page

Yes, I repeat complete it.  Now of course, it’s not done but I’m giddy, like really happy.  I have this feeling this is the story I want to tell.  I will say this, a lot has changed.  After a week of hard thinking (post my last What’s Up Wednesday post)  and thanks to a couple other things that occurred (I’ll talk about them in the next section), I finally listened to my main character and wrote her story the way she wanted it, not me.

I wasn’t happy at first, just because I like things going my way, after all this story is my baby.  But sometimes, you have to shut up & stop being so stubborn and let your characters speak.  That was something I was really good at when I started this story a little more than a year ago then everything changed (no, not when the fire nation attacked) but when I “got serious” about being published.  But to hell with it, I love my baby even more now 🙂

The Numbers:  This is my 5th draft of BLOOD OF ISIS.  Not all of them were total drafts, one was just changing the beginning and the last one was the elimination of a character (I’d added in the 4th draft…that was going to be saved for the 2nd book) and bringing another to prominence.

It went from about 47,000 words to this final one being 61, 100 words (ish).  And…I’m still not done.

BOI edited first page20120801-223308.jpg

As I like to do, I did a quick read through, marking grammatical errors and story details/scenes to revise.  Then I’m going to take a break, revise the marked scenes, take a longer break then reread then send to betas.  Throughout these breaks I will be reading/starting another WIP, which one idk yet.  The good thing is, as you can see from the pictures, this read through (on the left) has far improved from my last major revision (on the right) (yay!!!).

And because of this, I am finally able to read Rick Riordan’s Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1).  Why?  When it came out I wasn’t that into MG (thought I’d outgrown it, haha)  Then when I finally wanted to read it I’d started BLOOD OF ISIS but didn’t allow myself because it deals with Egyptian mythology & I swore off everything but straight myths while writing BOI.  It was horrible because I LOVE mythology retellings/based fiction.

It’s okay though, I’m in happy happy reading bliss now!  (And thankfully while our stories have similarities they’re very distinct, whew!)

Also, It feels so weird to be done with my WIP (for now) now I have the fun opportunity to figure out what to write next for Camp NaNoWriMo that I’ll be participating in for July!  I’m thinking I might just start typing.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Nothing.  Haha, no, but almost.  I’ve been pulling my hair out (almost) fighting with myself about inevitable story changes and now that I’m all finished, I’m pooped.  Oh but, like I said earlier, part of what led to me allow my story to be told the way Aziza, my main character (& the others) wanted it to be was that I got really heated about the lack of Diversity in YA.

diversity yaWhy now?  I don’t know, when I was younger I craved stories where characters who were black or queer were treated as “normal characters” not only in “issue books” but I also just loved reading so I let it go.   The the topic started popping up a lot, last week when I was reading any/all blogs as I usually do during writing breaks, and I got mad, furious.

I won’t go on and on about it but to say the least, it has really changed my stance on a lot of things.  I’ve always thought people should just write whatever, that the story matters most, and that’s still true but I now feel that as authors, myself an author spanning underrepresented groups in YA, I owe it to my readers, my siblings, and most of all my younger self to write myself and people like me into my books (not all the time and not every character but just to be much more mindful than I have been).

Also, I’m even more in love with Rick Riordan now because the main characters are biracial and I know that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but to have a boy main character who resembles his “black side” in a fantasy novel for middle grade readers is huge (it shouldn’t be but it is).  I almost started crying when I found out, no wonder my brother hoarded these books, they were like his Harry Potter.

P.S. If you want to read the posts check here and here.  And as you might’ve noticed I now have a Diversity in YA book list on my menu (it’s under major construction so 1. that’s not how the final page will look & 2. that’s only like 1/3 of the books I want to include).

P.P.S.  I recently signed on as a publicist intern at Spencer Hill Press under the wonderful Cindy Thomas (I’ll be working with their new Spencer Hill Contemporary imprint as well as the main one)…yeah, this is definitely what heaven looks like.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Falling back in love with writing.  the-write-heartAfter all that’s happened this past week, I feel reinvigorated and like I have this calling of sorts.  You know, writers really do touch their readers and I’m glad to know I’m finally writing the kind of books that would have made my younger (more troubled) self smile.  It’s nice.  Plus there are my sisters, I want to be able to write them into stories, to give them the chance to see themselves wherever they want.  Like Dan, in Gossip Girl (TV Series) did…and yes, I just compared myself to Dan, haha.  (hopefully I don’t become as pompous of a butthead).

Also my blog’s blogoversary was yesterday and I celebrated in true book blogger fashion by reading 🙂

What have you been up to lately?

Whimsically Yours,



27 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday

  1. I love everything about this post. Huge congratulations on the major breakthrough you had on your WIP. I love that feeling of “yes, of course!” that comes from realizing something you were hesitant to do just made your book a million times better. And I love your inspiration section. Happy to hear you’ve fallen back in love with writing! 🙂

  2. There are so many great things going on for you! First off, congrats on finishing another draft of your wip! This is truly inspiring. I can’t wait to get to this stage. Also, YAY for the internship!

    I love your book list. I’m really excited adout reading more non-issue books that are more diverse. I am currently thinking about buying The Girl of Fire and Thorns mainly because I love fantasy books/ it has a POC as a main character, which I’m excited about because I haven’t read too many fantasy books like that.

    This is also the reason why the main character in my wip is black.

    I’ve always wanted to see characters that looked like me in a fantasy setting, not just as sidekicks or cardboard cutouts but actual characters with depth, characters who are more than just their skin color. I think it was Toni Morrison who said ‘write the book you want to read’ (of course she probably said this more eloquently) but I agree with that advice 100%. If no one else is going to write it, then you have to write it yourself. It’s been great writing this wip so far, and I only wish this book (even though it’s nowhere near being completed) was around when I was younger.

    By the way, I LOVE your MC’s name. I think it means beloved in Arabic. Hehe, I have a slight obsession with knowing what names mean.

    Good luck with your wip, and if you ever need another set of eyes, I’d be happy to read it. 🙂

    (Also, if you’re looking for any more book recs, two other books that I really love are Bleeding Violet/ Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves. Both are really fun reads where their race isn’t an issue in the story.)

    • Thanks Raven! You’re right about my mc’s name…I’m really into names myself in fact knowing the meaning of names definitely reveals things about the characters in my books since I rarely pick a name just for funsies.

      I’m right with you with the Toni Morrison quote, it’s one of my favorites! She’s completely right, no need to keep whining about lack of diversity/books I would’ve loved to read as a child if I’m not going to do anything to change it.

      Thanks for the book recs, I’ll be sure to put them on my list. Also I just might take you up on that “extra set of eyes” offer, I have a few betas but I’d like someone more in the book’d direct reader age range (and I’d love to read yours when it’s finished!).

  3. Falling back in love with writing is such a great thing. Yay!
    I’ve been following conversations about diversity in kid lit. I’m really glad it’s a conversation that’s happening. Those statistics from the CCBC are so alarming.

  4. we definitely need more diversity in YA! Congrats on getting through revisions, sometimes it’s hard to write the story your characters want to tell, not the one you want to, but i’m sure your WIP will be stronger for it!

  5. YAY indeed! Congratulations on finishing! Best of luck with your next batch of edits!

    I’m trying to be more aware of diversity issues when I write. Personally I feel as soon as you know there’s a blindness to diversity in your area of writing, you’ve got to do something about it.

  6. Oooooh, major congrats on working through that revision round! I know how tough that is. And so cool that you have a bit of time to read and ponder what’s next while you let that baby stew a bit. Awesome!

    • Thanks Kip…it was brutal, horrifically brutal but I’m glad it’s all done (for now…). So glad to be able to read & relax now, I don’t even know what to do with myself lol.

  7. So many things to comment on here– I do the same when writing something in a given genre– I’ve been avoiding steampunk for a year while I finish mine. No fun.
    You are so right about diversity in YA (of course it’s also true for movies, tv, etc). I think it’s because people feel like they have to be writing an “issue book” to include multiple ethnicities or someone who is queer. And sadly, I think it’s because most of society still divides along ethnic lines. Ug. But those stats are embarrassing.

    • Yeah it’s not fun…you’re writing a steampunk? Now that sounds cool, if you ever need an extra beta I’m here! The stats are quite horrific but I have hope that they’ll get better 🙂

  8. Oh, wow! Congrats on your new internship, your WiP completion, your blogoversary! SO many things! How exciting! I hope your weeks continue to be as fabulous!

  9. Love the What’s Inspiriting Me Now section of today’s post… Couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂 And CONGRATULATIONS on finishing your WiP! What an amazing achievement! You must feel so exhilarated, and you’ve definitely earned a break! Best of luck with your edits and revisions in the coming weeks!

Share Your Thoughts :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s