Ten YA Fantasy Spring Break Reads

I'm a teacher on spring break this week. My "final" revisions and edits on When Smoke Rains Down (out this May!) were due to my editor yesterday. I didn't make my deadline. She gave me a one week extension. So now I have this week to finish fleshing out some additional chapters and readingthe story through to make sure I'm happy with how it flows, to make sure my characters are consistent, and to add in sensory and setting details. I wouldn't be as far as I am without my gracious critique partners who read and provided feedback quickly for me. I went through each section of my manuscript 4-5 times in the past two days to incorporate all their suggestions and tidy up the messy parts. I even skipped sleeping.

In addition to finishing those revisions and hanging out with my three kiddos (and maybe taking a nap!), I plan to catch up on some VERY overdue reading. My spring break reading list includes these fantasy titles. As I finish them, I will come back and let you know my thoughts!

(I'm being overly ambitious, as I tend to be in all that I do, but what I don't read this week, I'll read over the course of the next few months. In addition to several other titles on my TBR list. Some I've added to my pen name's Goodreads shelf if you want to see what else I'm looking forward to reading soon!)

What books are on your TBR for this spring and upcoming summer?


#IWSG Post: Be a Writing Pack Rat

New to IWSG? Here are the details:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional! 

March 1 Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

My Post:

I haven't, and by really old I'm thinking years and years. Since I've only been writing since 2010 (which, I guess, DOES feel like a really long time) it seems hard to say something I've written is really old. I did write two novels after the one I "pulled back out" to publish two months ago, so may be that counts? 

And when I'm "done" with the series I'm publishing, I look forward to going back to the other two contemporary young adult manuscripts. They really do need a reworking, one way more than the other. I miss those characters and the writing style I used in them.  Hopefully that will work out, too. My plan as of right now is to query them to small publishers, but it seems that more and more are now requiring agents, so I may have to take that route first. We shall see. It may be a while.

Like I tell my first grade students, never throw any writing away. Even if it's not exactly what we're trying to write (I have a student who's struggling to make the switch from our personal narrative unit to our non-fiction text unit) and even if it's not the text you're choosing to publish, KEEP IT. You may choose to go back to it and revise and edit it for publication later!

My very first manuscript (that I will never, never go back to) had a million different beginnings and I'm quite certain that I saved every. single. one of them. Anytime I cut a scene or rework a chapter, I always save the old version somewhere.

I'm GREAT at saving, not so great at being organized about it. My documents folder (and kitchen counter) is a MESS!

So...the lesson here: Save everything. Be organized about it right away, because you WON'T really go back later to clean it up. And you never know when an old muse will come calling. You may want to dust off that ol' ms and spruce it up. It may end up being the most successful piece you've ever written! OR you'll have great outtakes to give away to your readers for free. :)

The awesome co-hosts for the March 1 posting of the IWSG will be Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nicohle Christopherson!