Ready. Set. Write! Week Four


Alison MillerKaty UppermanJaime Morrow, and Erin Funk are once again hosting the summerlong Ready. Set. Write! initiative. Each week there will be a few headings, with short responses to allow for more writing time.

  • How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I actually did start working again on Chapter 79, “Terror at Tarawa,” of my WIP, Journey Through a Dark Forest. I hadn’t worked on it since 17 May. I’m thinking this’ll end up as a short or mid-length chapter (by my standards, anyway).

  • My goal(s) for this week

Finish Chapter 79 and move onto Chapter 80, “Day of All Days.” I’ll of course have to do some research on the timeline of D-Day along with writing. My beautiful Caran d’Ache Pablo coloured pencils are also due to arrive this week, so I’d like to slowly get started on the book cover for the final book I’m releasing this year, my first Russian historical. This time the characters will be a bit more realistic and detailed, with shading, depth, etc. I deliberately made them flat and cartoon-like on the other cover.

  • A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Chapter 70, “One Dreaded Word,” wasn’t exactly emotionally easy to write, but I really like a lot of the passages and scenes. From near the end of the chapter, as 12-year-old Violetta and her 5-year-old sister Flora take a turn for the worse:

“My little sister isn’t breathing anymore, and I have a pain…”

Before Violétta can finish the sentence, the pain in her chest intensifies and she lapses into unconsciousness.  Over the next few minutes, she drifts in and out of consciousness, the agitated, frantic shouting of nurses and doctors around her registering only as buzzing.  Through her fuzzy, wavering senses, she sees a doctor picking up Flora, and then she’s lifted onto a stretcher.  By the time she comes back to herself, she’s in a room full of a deafening, clanging noise that sounds like thousands of windshield wipers working at full speed commingled with thousands of continuously working, macabre bellows.  Flora is put into one of the grotesque iron breathing machines first, and then Violétta.  As Violétta wiggles her left fingers and rotates her wrist to reassure herself that she’s not completely paralyzed, she falls unconscious again.

  • The biggest challenge I faced this week

Just getting motivated to return to my WIP already, after such a long break. I have four months to go before the planned release of You Cannot Kill a Swan, so I’ll have to break again in order to do a few final rounds of edits and polishings. As proud as I am of having written that book, particularly since I wrote the first draft from ages 13-21, I’m just sick of looking at it by this point!

  • Something I love about my WIP

I love how I ended up using some of villain Boris’s former religious school students as main characters for the first time, and finally gave them last names and patronymics. This book wouldn’t be the same without Dusya, Rodya, and Patya. Dusya has the guts to wear black at her Halloween wedding, in an Orthodox church, and stands up to her dysfunctional, greenhorn parents when they try to get her to drop out of Barnard.

Rodya is such a perfect match for sweet little Valentina Kuchma, and Patya is the perfect match for Vladlena Zyuganova. As I’ve mentioned, Rodya’s surname, Duranichev, is also my humble way of saying thank you to the band who’ve provided my majority writing soundtrack. Once I saw it in a list of Russian surnames, I had to use it!


7 thoughts on “Ready. Set. Write! Week Four

  1. I can relate to the difficulty of getting back into writing after taking some time away. I struggled with that for months, but I think I’ve finally managed to break out of the slump. That line you shared is kind of heart-breaking. I can well imagine how tough it was to write this particular scene. Hope you have a productive week, Carrie-Anne!


  2. I find it so tough to get back into a story after taking a break too, which is why I seldom take breaks. You’ve been so busy in the meantime though! Good luck with your goals this week and I hope finishing off that chapter goes well!


  3. It is tough to return to something after a long break, but my mind often needs those breaks so I just reread a lot of my story to help me get back in the swing of things. Actually, that’s how I usually start every writing session – by rereading what I wrote the time before. Good luck this week!


  4. I really like the name Rodya. I hadn’t heard it before. Though I’m not very familiar w/Russian at all, so that’s not a surprise. =) And I hope Violetta and Flora are ok, poor things!


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