Or blogging, or Facebook, or Twitter.
It’s time to make a stand. Against myself!!
Or blogging, or Facebook, or Twitter.
It’s time to make a stand. Against myself!!
So how have you all fared on the first day of the NaNoWriMo 2018 challenge? Those writers in the time zones across the Atlantic will still be tapping away … keep going!… while those from the time zone in the other direction will be asleep and about to wake for Day 2!
How amazing that this phenomenon brings writers together from all over the world for the month of November for what, in essence, is the mother of all writing sprints!
I managed 1,604 words, which is a tad short of the ideal ‘average’ daily wordcount of 1,667 if we are to achieve the total 50,000 goal across all days of the month 👌🏼
This little buzzy bee 🐝 is my mascot and shall appear in each photo I post about NaNo! It was one of many thoughtful gifts from a reading buddy who lives in New York, or just outside. This reading buddy who does not have a blog, shares her time and world with myself and a third book buddy who keeps the great book review site ShuffleBookBox.
The three of us have a lot of laughs and we came together over one special book…. ME BEFORE YOU by JoJo Moyes… hence the 🐝
Back to NaNo… I’ve already mentioned Megg Geri and her brilliant book ‘Write A Novel In Thirty Days’ and another writer who spends her life encouraging others (and specialises in beginner novelists) is Lara Ferrari. For a wonderful site full of tips, inspiration, guidelines and encouragement, check her site out above. One nugget I’ve just printed out this evening is this below – as we know I can get carried away with details 🙈
Keep up your energy levels too, and take water into your writing time – as well as the delectable coffees and mochas we all dream about!
Sleep. We are going to need good sleeps. 🙈 Oh Lordy, this could be my undoing. I often don’t sleep through. Man of the Woods helpfully reads out regularly from the newspaper, articles about the more mature ladies not sleeping through these years. What?? I’ll give you menopause, you bastard (*throws pillows at him*) 😂 …. for the record, I have no idea if I’ve hit that time or not. I’m 49. I feel fine, no hot flushes, and nothing else to report. (Shall we stop there? Please).
Lavender. Good for sleep.
In the absence of a floral filled field in which to roll around before bed, try a pillow spray such as this …
…. essence oils of lavender mixed with vetivert and wild camomile and before you think I’m trying to palm you off with something dodgy, it’s made by the guys at ThisWorks.com and I bought this from the EasyJet InFlight magazine of goodies. You know – the one in which you see all those items you all-of-a-sudden can’t live without.
Food is fuel. Don’t type on an empty stomach!
My cupboards are bare right now but I did find a Camembert to heat up to melting point and four slices of white bread toasted (allowed to go hard before buttering – yum) was a great easy meal meaning the munchies would not disturb me while I NaNo’d 👌🏼
If you are partaking in NaNo this year, let’s keep in touch! We will all have good days and bad days and probably some hopeless ones to boot. Let’s keep each other motivated! x
I should have done this a very long time ago 🙈
As the weeks continue to soldier on past, I cannot escape the repeated advice about the importance of making lists about, doing research on, creating mood boards for .. your main characters.
Although I may ultimately share with my readers only 25% of that information (because they don’t need to know Antonio’s inside leg measurement) the descriptions I do weave into my scenes will come from a place of assured knowledge rather than a vague guess and hope it works.
I’ve been reading this guide over the last twenty four hours and it has to be up there with Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ when it comes to a How To book which is so well-written, it’s a page-turner all of its own!
I’ve laughed out loud at the humour used to make incredibly valid points and cringed inside when I’ve seen examples of what not to type (*quietly goes off to alter things on the WIP and hey presto – no-one will be any the wiser*). I’ve so got this 💃🏼
I’m reflecting on this time last year. I’d just joined an online writers group and they were all chatting away about something I thought was one of their Nana’s poetry classes, true story 😂
I tentatively made some enquiries and it turned out that the National Novel Writing Month (of November) was started in the US by some buddies who wanted to encourage those thinking about writing a novel to simply sit down and thrash out a first draft. No editing, no worrying about the plot, just get it down. In 50,000 words. In one month. Simples.
While there are sceptics who suggest you might be better to type slower and more methodically, reducing the need to eliminate rushed writing from your manuscript at a later date, many do still join the thousands each year because they know that writing communities help each other. This is like one mother fudge writing retreat in which we can all, and will be, posting wordcounts and encouraging each other through the tough days. 1,666 words a day sounds do-able, until you get left behind because life happened to get in the way.
Last year, around this time, I looked in awe at the writers who had planned and plotted and knew what scenes they would write on which days whereas I simply dived in at the deep end and started spewing words out.
The result became the basis for my present WIP, of which I am proud, and this year I wish to progress the wordcount during the weeks of NaNo (unofficially as you have to be working on a brand new project to register with the site).
There are many guides to help approach what we all admit is quite an extreme form of creative writing, and I have a copy of this book on my kindle by Megg Geri.
Megg’s site is really worth a visit if you’ve not been over yet. Full of fun tips and a book club and all sorts of editing and writerly offerings 🌸
This time around I know what NaNo means and what it stands for. Yet have I done any planning? A little…. and even some of those post-its have fluttered to the floor and mingled in with the to-be-but-never-will-be ironing pile 🙄
I’m going to have to be much more self-disciplined about blogging and insta and FB if I’m to give time to this. I did read some more of Megg’s tips in the bath last night, so I’m on the right lines!
I’ve warned Man of the Woods that I shall need to be left in peace for periods of the day. He pointed out he walks the little dog twice a day even now for at least an hour and what was I spending that time doing if not writing? He has a point… I am so disorganised.
My basic efforts daily will include:-
Who else is preparing, mentally and any other way?
Truman Capote apparently said:
“I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil”
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We hear this a lot don’t we, from editors and publised authors who have been there and worn the proverbial T-shirt.
They’ve had to lose chunks, chapters and sometime even whole sections of their carefully thought out prose.
But chances are, the overall effect of losing the waffle, the unnecessary description, the side-character’s shoe colour, will improve the reading experience.
And that, right there, is what I hope to give my readers when one day this novel is completed – and edited professionally 👌🏼
I now have 30,000 words and wanted to drop by to share this news with you as I’ve juggled all summer between 22 and 28 thousand words and never seemed to be able to get any more down!
I’ve set myself a goal and a reward at achievement, which is I can only start reading another novel once I’ve typed 10,000 NEW words. 😱 (I know, eeek! But it’s working. I set the goal yesterday and I’ve typed over 2,000 already 👏🏼)
I hope you’re all getting done the things you wanted to get down today xx
Ok… this is JUST what the doctor ordered. I know writers usually only worry about the dreaded synopsis AFTER they’ve completed their manuscript, but in my case I need to prepare one in readiness for some potential meetings coming up when, if I’m lucky to secure a slot or two with some agents at the RNA conference, they require a synopsis plus your first few chapters, or around the first 5000 words, BEFORE the actual conference takes place so can talk to us about our WIP!
So, deep breath. I hope don’t waver all over the place like this wall, but I do need to create one for my debut.
It now has a working title by the way – THE KEY TO VERONA.
I’m grateful today to find this brilliant blog post by ALISON WILLIAMS all about synopsis writing – looks like I need to follow her for all the other great advice she gives about writing on her other posts!
Like writing the dreaded blurb, writing a synopsis can throw the best writers into a panic! This is something else I’ve written about before, but is definitely worth repeating.
I’ve worked with lots of writers who can compose the most beautiful prose, bring scenes to vivid life, make me care about their characters, keep me turning the page, but these same writers find one thing almost impossible to do – they can’t write a synopsis.
What is it about a synopsis that has so many writers struggling? It doesn’t seem to matter how great a writer you are, there’s just something about condensing your masterpiece down into one or two sides of A4 that strikes fear into a writer’s heart.
And I think that’s the issue. As authors, we spend so long on our books, every last detail is important to us. A synopsis asks us to get to the…
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Damn, what woke me? Still dark, my eyes attempt to focus on something, anything. I roll over and go to reach across for my husband’s warm skin but immediately remember he is away for two more days. I hear it again, a definite snapping sound reaches me through the open sash window. I sit up and hold my breath. Looking back, I wish I’d simply stayed under the duvet but a concerned fascination had crept through my limbs and they took me to the edge of the bed, then padding across the carpet to peer out through the glass panes.
Is that something by the patio, or is my vision playing tricks? Trying not to get too close to the glass, as I’m aware my presence will be more obvious if I do, I still my focus and stare at the edge of the grass so that gradually I see the box hedging and the conical yew tree in a tub at the corner. All is in order and I huff out a relieved sigh. Sleep is not calling so I choose instead to go downstairs. A herbal tea will calm my racing pulse, and I conclude the sounds which woke me must be that of a stalking fox or a badger snuffling its way under the hedge after beetles. The surrounding fields are the secret home of many animals who like to venture close under the cover of darkness.
The teabag floats and a teaspoon squeezes the life from the dried herbs, colours merge and swirl in the hot water. I raise my tired eyes to my reflection in the kitchen window in time to find a different set watching me. I scream and the spoon clatters to the floor. The eyes are gone but my heart is racing and my breath catches. In the hallway I feel more protected and the juxtoposition is sharp as I pull my T-shirt further down my thighs as if it is some coat of armour and will protect me where it covers my goose bumped skin. What to do? Behind me is the horrid umbrella stand mother insisted I house but in it and within easy reach, are potential weapons and I am grateful now to be able to choose the walking stick with its ivory hound head for a handle. It feels cold on my palm and as my shallow gasping leaves me lightheaded, my fingertips touch the sharp teeth so intricately carved.
Why is this happening when Joe is away. Fuck…. what would he do? I get down on all fours and know that the kitchen lights will not infiltrate the next room. Dragging my hound with me, I crawl towards the french doors of the living room, avoiding the furniture I know so well. I crouch in the corner, my back to the cold radiator which had earlier provided the room with warmth and atmosphere. In front of me are the two huge curtains, closed against the outside world. Tentatively I pull the edge of one a few centimetres away from the glass, but see only the legs of the chairs on the patio, and that book I was enjoying yesterday on the table top, its cover curling in the dew. All I can think of is the pages must be getting damp and the poor child on the front will hate not being next to my bed. Why did I leave it outside?
I don’t know how long I sit there, pulling gently at a thread at the base of the curtain. I feel safe in this corner, so will stay put until it is light or the milkman swings into the drive and I can catch his attention. My phone is out in the car, in the glove box I think, such an idiot, so I cannot call Joe and there’s nothing he can do from Ireland anyway. I am stuck, so close my eyes against the problem and take in a deep breath. I am drifting in my cosy corner. I do not see the torch beam on the hall carpet, I do not hear another’s heavy breathing, I do not smell the burning of my car and its contents outside the house. But I do feel my hair being ripped from my scalp as I am dragged from my corner, and my arms grapple to hold onto the rose-patterned curtains and for a second or two they keep me close to my corner before their rings snap and break, revealing the patio outside. I yell for help but my mouth is covered by smoky fingers and I notice, just before I’m taken from the room, the book is gone.
(Photo credit to – Between Birds of Prey)