IWSG and What’s Up Wednesday

My Horny Hump Day post is here.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

It’s time again for the monthly meeting of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers share insecurities, doubts, and concerns. I’ll try to keep it short this month, to allow enough space for the second half of this post.

I guess I’m insecure lately because I haven’t been querying or entering too many contests this year so far. There’s the worry that some of the agents participating in contests have already seen my queries in other contests, and wanting to give a fair shot to people with different or new manuscripts.

I also decided to step back till I figure out just how to classify myself and some of my books. For reasons I’ve enumerated many times before, I just don’t feel comfortable classifying most of my books with younger characters as YA in today’s market, nor as marketing myself as a specifically YA writer. I want to be able to say I write books, without making special mention of age-based categories. It would’ve been so much easier for me if I lived in a place like England, Australia, or Germany, where the current YA historical offerings seem much more in line with what I remember from my youth.

It also continues to frustrate me that so many Americans these days have such short attention spans, and that 400 pages is seriously considered a very long book by many people. The historicals I’m used to are at least that, if not more. It’s frustrating and annoying to see the words epic and saga bandied about so casually these days. How is a 300-page book a saga?! I really think indie or self-publishing is my best bet till the market changes a little bit.
Ready Set Write

As part of their What’s Up Wednesday feature, Elodie NowodazkijAlison MillerKaty UppermanErin Funk, and Jaime Morrow will be hosting a summer-long initiative called Ready. Set. Write! Participants will share weekly, monthly, or overall goals in the “What I’m Writing” section of the weekly posts.

What I’m Writing

I’m up to Chapter 56 of my current WIP, around 453,000 words. I’m very pleased to be keeping the chapters of Part III so far short by my standards. I’d like to think my upped guesstimate of 550K for the final length is still doable. I already have an outline in my head of how the rest of this chapter will proceed, Inessa and Vitya falling in love despite feeling they’ll only love their murdered first spouses.

But first, it needs put on hold so I can temporarily resume my hiatused WIP Justine Grown Up, set from 1979-84. I’ll be writing Chapter 54, “Irene and Amelia Redecorate Their Room,” set in early 1983. To date, I’d only gotten up to Chapter 18 and around 114,500 words. My guesstimate for this book is around 200K, which is short by my standards! There’s a special, unique holiday coming up on Saturday, and I’m such a dork I wanted to have some appropriate pieces for this weekend’s Sweet Saturday Samples and Weekend Writing Warriors posts.

What I’m Reading

I’m finally getting around to reading the rest of the Five Little Peppers series, with the so-called midquels I got free for my Kindle awhile ago. I’m starting with the first midquel, Five Little Peppers Abroad, which starts almost exactly where the original second book, Five Little Peppers Midway, left off. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: Margaret Sidney had a number of serious limitations as a writer, not to mention coming from a very Victorian environment.

I was rolling my eyes and dozing off from the first page. These people turn every little thing, and I really do mean every little thing, into some huge dramatic crisis. Plus this book starts with a few people I don’t know and therefore can’t bring myself to care about. Teenage Polly and Jasper are as annoying as I found them before, while coddled little Phronsie acts more mature than they do. I read these books more for the historical value, as some of the first children’s books that were written specifically as children’s literature, as well as the snapshot of the long-gone world of the late 19th century.

What Inspires Me

The realisation that the youngest campers truly don’t know their left from their right, even when a clear handedness is evident. It just goes to show that kids don’t know or care about things like that till they’re told to care, or given messages that the right is supposedly superior to the left. It’s the same way no one is born racist. It’s only an issue after society makes it one.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

We still don’t have a real kitchen, so I’m still going to my parents’ house for dinner, eating out, or eating stuff that doesn’t need cooked. This is even more frustrating than dealing with oppositional defiant campers, Pull-Ups full of feces, and inveterate thumb-sucking. Please remember I’m the one with the more lenient, Conservative views on kosher and that I thought this needed taken care of before or soon after the move!

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14 comments on “IWSG and What’s Up Wednesday

  1. Jemi Fraser says:

    It’s really funny how times and styles change throughout the years. I tried going back to read a favourite from childhood. I’d read it several times as a kid and loved it! it was awful – tedious, preachy and so not my thing! Thankfully when I reread Anne of Green Gables, it was still classic!

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  2. Alison Miller says:

    I have that same worry about contests I’ve been entering too, but then I think – hey, there might be someone out there who will actually like my work and get it. So I try them all! Good luck with your writing this week! Your word count continues to inspire me!

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  3. Karen Walker says:

    Hi Carrie-Ann. I am having difficulty classifying my WIP into a specific genre as well. I hate being categorized. Good luck with your writing. And thanks for your visit and comment on my blog today.

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  4. Julie Luek says:

    As always, I admire how you stick to your own vision and dreams for your books and writing. GO YOU!

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  5. Defining your genre can be tough, but it’s necessary for marketing and promotion purposes once the book comes out.

    I’m with you on the contest thing. Haven’t been nearly as active as I should be.

    You do write long books! Wow!

    In regards to the handedness comment. I have twin boys. One’s right-handed and the other is left-handed. I never pressured them either way, it’s just the way they preferred it. 🙂

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  6. Way to go with your writing this week, Carrie-Ann. Your word counts always amaze me! I’m hating your kitchen situation… I can’t imagine not being able to cook or bake when I want to.Way to go meeting your writing goals, and best of luck with your progress in the coming week. 🙂

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  7. I think a thousand pages is a very long book, not four hundred. Sorry it’s such a challenge for you here in the US.

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  8. kate scott says:

    There is nothing wrong with going the indie rout. Some people like short books, and others don’t care about length. You’ll find your readers. Just keep writing the story you feel compelled to write.

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  9. I don’t think 400 pages is too long for a historical. They’re usually longer. Sorry you’re having troubles. I don’t want to pigeon hole myself as a writer either. Anyway, I want to read your book.

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  10. I just read two adult-market books featuring teenage characters. While there was definite YA crossover potential because the protagonist’s ages and the subject matter, both were not YA books and I could immediately feel the diffeence with the writing and the way the stories were approached. Jodi Picoult’s books have sometimes been labeled YA, like My Sister’s Keeper, but she has only written one YA book and it came out last year. I think if you know your stories don’t have the YA voice or feel, there is nothing wrong with classifying it as adult fiction, even if some of your characters are teenagers.

    Plus, while YA creates a lot of openness for writers, it can also be restricting. If most YA is a variation of 1st person and the protag should be under 17 and it should be written with a YA voice, there are always exceptions, but if you feel constrained by those rules, maybe YA isn’t the spot for your book. Tough call, but only you know. Maybe your book will be read by teen readers even if it isn’t tagged YA. Teens read their parent’s books too.

    I hope your kitchen issues are resolved soon! I was without a microwave for weeks and that was annoying enough.

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  11. mollymom103 says:

    I find some books stay don’t age and some do. I can still read George McDonald and be transported. I tried to read on my favorite books as a child and I love it so much I can’t name it. I could not love as I did as a child. It made me cry and feel like I’d lost something precious.

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  12. Miss Cole says:

    Self-publishing is working so well for people right now. I certainly wish you every success with whatever path you choose!

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  13. jamieayres says:

    I was just talking about how much kids have changed over the last 13 yrs of my teaching public school with a fellow teacher today. You’re a saint for helping to lead camp!

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  14. I don’t think 400 pages is long- and I have read lots of HF that were that long or longer (Pillars of the Earth is around 1000 pages and is one of my favorite books of all time). Sorry it has been tough here in the USA! The contests sound fun- but I like that you are stepping back and giving them a lot of thought. Best of luck with your writing. 🙂

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