Monday, February 10, 2014


We'd like to invite you to join us for Writer Recharge 2014, a month-long motivational challenge similar to last summer's Ready. Set. Write! So many of us benefited from setting goals, connecting with other writers, and social media-based accountability. So, hey, let's do it again! Whether you're delighting next to the crackling fireplace of a Shiny New Idea with a warm cup of tea and a sleepy puppy at your feet or spinning out on the ice-covered roads of revisions in an attempt to avoid the snow-packed ditch, we want to write with you! What do you want to accomplish this month? Hit a daily word count? Revise a certain number of pages or chapters each week? Complete a draft by the end of the month? Let's get this party started!

Your hosts and cheerleaders: Katy UppermanAlison MillerLiz ParkerElodie Nowodazkijand Sara Biren

I have updates! First, progress:

The first Golden Heart entry I read for judging was ... awesome! All of my entries are in a genre I don't read often, so I was a little concerned. This entry pulled me right in. I'm so excited for the writer having created such an engaging story. Motivating!

I received feedback from my critique group on the second chapter of my YA contemporary-in-progress SUNSET SUMMER. Consensus: it's boring! 

This is why critique groups are great. I moved up a scene from later in the book thinking it would show aspects of the character. It sort of does, but not enough is happening. More questions arose from the next scene; the character interaction was good, but not enough of an active scene. The pace was too slow. 

The day after our group met, I heard back from my agent on my other project. Lots of enthusiasm (yay!) along with a new set of notes. I'll now be switching focus from editing SUNSET SUMMER to editing AMELIA for the month. My goals:

  1. Cut first chapter (!); make sure Ch. 2 works as opener. Edit opening two chapters based on notes from my Opening Scenes course.* Update: over the weekend I cut almost 4k words just by reworking the first two chapters. I was able to splice in pertinent stuff and a few good lines from Ch. 1 elsewhere. It's liberating to cut so much and still feel like the story works!
  2. Work in the other proposed changes; expanding some scenes, cutting others
  3. Re-organize the pacing of the novel. Update: the first section is in much better shape. Now on to correct pacing for parts 2 & 3.
  4. Reduce overall word count by 6-7k words; first step is to review structure of novel and cut or reduce length of scenes toward end of book. Closer edit:, reduce filler info, reduce secondary character subplot that take away from MC's subplot
The Opening Scenes course I took on RWA's Online portal was taught by Kelley Armstrong. I reviewed most of the notes on Friday night since my days became a little busy during the week. I've read a lot about first chapters and yet I still walked away with tangible ways to improve them. Given my entire first chapter is being cut, I can see now that while I might have set an active scene and stayed away from info-dumps, the first chapter is primarily set-up and doesn't hook the reader as much as it should. 

Looking forward to catching up with the rest of you. 

Check out the twitter tag #WriterRecharge for more writing motivation this month!


  1. Ha! That's essentially what my First Readers said about my first 30 pages: the setup was necessary, but it wasn't exactly scintillating. They were waiting for the real story to start! So I have to somehow keep the setup, but make it more enticing. Easy, yes? Ha! Seriously, though, this is useful feedback, and it's why having Readers and Critique Groups can by so very helpful.

    All the best with your writing goals this week, Stephanie! :)

  2. I love cutting stuff from my WIP - it feels so weirdly liberating like I've taken charge or something :)

    Good luck with editing this week!

  3. Good luck with your first chapter! I have issues with openings too - in that I'm NEVER happy with them. I've written my current one fifty times now. And I'll probably rewrite it fifty more. :) Sounds like you are making awesome progress though! Good luck this week!

  4. I used to judge for my local RWA group years ago. Was so much fun seeing what other writers were doing. Have a great week!

  5. That's great that your agent is enthusiastic about your project. Good luck with your revisions this week!

  6. Good Luck with those first chapters, I find openings so hard!

  7. CPs are so important! Glad you got good news from your agent. Good luck with edits!

  8. Oooh openings are very important so I hope you get everything into working order. Seems like you got some great advice, good luck!


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