RSW Update #6

RSW2Ready. Set. Write! is a summer writing intensive–more info here. For the next few months, I’ll be posting updates every Monday on my progress and weekly goals. Feel free to join the fun! 🙂

1.  How I did on last week’s goals. TBH, I didn’t even count my words this week, but I feel like I did the equivalent of 3,500 words worth of work. I started to work on my current novel, THE VAGABONDS, and got one scene written, but then I got a bolt of inspiration based on some agent feedback and ended up working on revisions for the novel I’ve been querying, THE COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE OF EMMA POLAND. So, I got through quite a bit of revisions and I also created a more detailed outline for my current WIP. Pretty good, I think.

I didn’t make it to yoga class, but my husband and I did a video together which was fun! And for reading, I started two books–THINGS FALL APART by Chinua Achebe and PAGE BY PAIGE by Laura Lee Gulledge.

2.  My goal(s) for this week. Finish reading my two books, finish revisions on TCAUFEP, send out one or two more queries (and yoga, of course).

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised. 

Character. In TCAUFEP, I’ve been working hard on characterization while I revise, trying to sleuth out ways to make my protagonist more sympathetic, even when she does some pretty unsympathetic things.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write). This past weekend was my husband’s birthday, so I didn’t have much time to write over the weekend, but we had a lot of family time which is always fun!

5.  Something I love about my WiP. They’re both really challenging me, which is tough in the moment but hopefully it’s also helping me grow as a writer.

How’d your week go? 

Share My Wisdom:


  1. Jaime Morrow says:

    Wow! Awesome job on your goals this week, Crystal! I think characterization is so tough to get down. I’m struggling with that myself. Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to get to know your characters better and help readers get to know them better as well?

    Have a wonderful week! 😀

    • Crystal says:

      Man, I wish I had some tricks up my sleeve, lol. I’ve just been reading a lot about characterization and trying to make my characters consistent, sympathetic, relatable, subtle, etc. etc. etc. The usual. Do YOU have any tricks? lol

  2. Carrie-Anne says:

    It’s always a challenge to make a protagonist sympathetic when s/he doesn’t always act so sympathetically. I like to keep in mind the famous examples of Scarlett O’Hara and Amber St. Clare, who don’t seem so nice on paper but who are driven by understandable motivations and go through so much growth and change. Even if they’re not always likable, we at least understand where they’re coming from.

    • Crystal says:

      Not familiar with Amber St. Clare, but I sometimes feel like Scarlett O’Hara types are less and less accepted in current books. Everyone is so obsessed with liking the protagonist, which is funny to me because, personally, I don’t really have to like a character to relate to them. That said, I think unlikeable characters can still be done well, I am just struggling to figure out how to do mine well and/or make them more likeable.

  3. Katy Upperman says:

    You’ve got tricky stuff going on with your characterizations, it sounds like. Best of luck figuring it all out! Glad you hear that your WiPs are challenging you. As annoying as that can be, I feel like that’s sort of the point — growing and learning and figuring out what the story’s *supposed* to be. You can TOTALLY do it, Crystal! Have a great week, lady!

    • Crystal says:

      Thank you, Katy! I am glad that my craft is consistently improving with every book and every revision. Growth is good, even when it’s kinda painful.

  4. Kitty Murry says:

    I so totally love that book title! Congrats on making so much progress this week, despite obligations of having fun with family. 🙂 Good luck on your goals this week!

  5. Courtney Leigh says:

    Inspiration for revisions is always good! Great job this week! Characterization can be such a challenge, so I hope it continues to go well for you this week. Good luck!

    Also, I hope you decide to enter Pitch Wars!!

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks, Courtney! I am leaning toward doing Pitch Wars, although I read today that you can’t query at all during the mentor stage. I am querying now, so I guess I’ll have to see what the rules are for if you already have some queries out in the ether. Although, it’s sort of a shot in the dark to get a mentor to begin with, so I probably don’t need to worry prematurely, lol.

  6. Carrie says:

    I LOVE that title and would buy the book based on that alone! Good luck this week, especially with your characterization challenges. You’ll figure it out!

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks! I’m so glad people like it–I went through a lot of brainstorming to figure it out. Hopefully the manuscript lives up to the title… 🙂

  7. Shan Jeniah Burton says:

    Joining the chorus for the title!

    I think you’ve done great, considering the happy family time and the bigness of what’s going on for you! +D

    May you continue to gain insight into you characters, and forward momentum!

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