Archive | June 2011

ROW80 Round 2 Wrap Up

I’ve done it, I’ve got to the end of A Round of Words in 80 Days writing challenge. Well done everyone else who’s got here too.

So, how have I done? My goal was a bit of an odd one. I wanted to get writing, editing and my writing course in there, but I wanted to make them all equal. I also wanted weekly goals, not daily ones, because I knew writing EVERY day for 80 days would just be impossible.

Therefore I decided that my weekly goal would be the same as 7 days of writing 300 words, editing for 30 minutes, or working on my writing course for 30 minutes. That would mean that at the end of the 80 days (Wednesday) I would have 2400 minutes of editing/writing course OR 24,000 words written, or a mixture of the three. I originally wanted 250 words a day, but 300 worked easily with 30 mins of other stuff in my geeky chart, so it had to be 300 (on the chart I changed each 10 words to 1 – so if I wrote 244 words, it went in the chart as 24.4).

Here’s how I did:



Not great. But, not all that bad. In total I wrote 17,084 words, I edited for 205 minutes and I did 30 minutes on my writing course. I’m actually pretty happy with that. No, I didn’t reach my goal, but I think had I not have been doing this challenge, I wouldn’t have done anything like what I did. I think I estimated the other day that I would have written about 7k in that time. 10k more than that is well worth it.

There’s now a break of a week or so, before round 3 starts on 4th July. I don’t think I’m going to have time to write my goals this weekend (Hard Rock Calling festival tickets, with VIP entry to see Bonjovi on Saturday should keep me away from the computer!), so I’ll do them next week.

So, if you did ROW80, how did you get on? Are you doing round 3? If you didn’t do it, you temped by round 3? It starts on 4th July!

More ‘Holiday’ and Penultimate ROW80 Check-In

Only 3 days left of ROW80. In some ways it feels like it has been really short, but when I consider it really, it has been ages. Almost 80 days actually – ha!

I guess I shouldn’t start on with my achievements, because I’ll be doing that on Wednesday – so all I’m going to say today is that on 8th June I made a mini goal of about 6,000 words. Today, I sit at 6,603 words AND 105 mins editing! Woop!

In fact, I’ve only got 4,566 words left to write to equal the overall goal of an average of 300 words (or 30 mins editing or writing course) a day. That’s ALMOST possible. Almost. Hmmm. Maybe.

The reason my stats have suddenly shot up (you’ll see the sudden increase when I post my stats on Wednesday – along with graphs) is that I’ve suddenly got back into Holiday. On Wednesday when I was off work, I rearranged the pieces of writing I’ve got, getting nearly everything in one place.

Later in the week I did some writing – originally it was for Fiction Friday (but part of Holiday) but I think I probably am leaving it too late to post now so it’s just another scene for the novel. Then this morning I woke up with an uncontrollable urge to do more.

I did a load of planning, mapping, and then writing. altogether I planned (which I’m sticking under editing for the purpose of this challenge) for 30 minutes and wrote… wait for it… 953 words. The scene I wrote was one I’ve not been looking forward to writing, but I was just sat there and the beginning of it came to me (not the beginning actually – halfway through, but the beginning of the hard bit) and I HAD to write it. I’ve not read it back, but I think it’s probably ok. I did it by hand (shocking) so need to type up at some point, which means it will get a cheeky edit before the novel’s finished and it gets a real edit.

The planning I did was brilliant. Most of what I’ve written so far is in the 1st 1/3. I think maybe one of the reasons it’s been quite hard to get back into, is because I only have a vague idea of what will be happening in the 2nd and 3rd thirds. I knew two major bits, but the fillers were a little mystery. No more. I still don’t know the details, but I know for instance one day that they’re on ‘Holiday’ they’re going to go on a boat trip, another they’re going to visit another town the other side of the island.

Right then I’ll leave you good people. If you’re doing ROW80, good luck with the last few days, if you’re not doing it, have a great week!

Old writing and ROW80 Check-In

I had a plan for today. I’m still off work ill (as I was yesterday), but started feeling better at lunchtime, so I did some writing. I decided I’d get up, have some lunch, do some more writing, start finding and getting together all my stuff for ‘Holiday’ (the novel, unfortunately I’m not off anywhere) and then write a blog.

I did the first two then jumped ahead to getting all the stuff together for Holiday. I say get it together because so far I’ve been writing a bit at a time, a scene here, scene there etc. Sometimes on one computer, sometimes on another. Therefore, I know not everything is in the same place.

I logged on to my computer (a rarity these days as we use my boyfriends as that has built-in internet and mine doesn’t) and I started looking for stuff. I’ve got a folder labelled ‘Old Laptop.’ This is where I thought most of the bits of the novel would be.

They weren’t.


I started looking in sub folders, and unusually titled folders, and I found one called old writing. What could be in here? I thought. Well, apparently one day, well back in July 2007 (!!) I thought that Holiday would be a Mills & Boon type book. How do I know this? I found a document called ‘M&B 2 – Chapter 1.’ The document is only 404 words long, but it’s one of the most crucial scenes in Holiday. And I wrote it back in 2007. I honest cannot remember doing that.

The funny thing is, it’s pretty much word for word what I then wrote for the scene in 2009/10. The story idea is that set in my head.

The only difference really is that in 2007 the MCs were Amy and Charlie. Over the next few years they changed to Kate and Dan. I’m happy with the names they currently have, and really chuffed that I’ve found this bit of writing, cementing the idea of the novel in my head well back then. Those 404 words were the sum total of any work I’d done on it then, but still, I must have been thinking about it.

July 2007 was before I even moved to London. Wow! I was living in Newcastle at the time and hating it, but had just decided to move down here.

In January 2007 I wrote a lot more of another novel (I say a lot more, only around 1,600 words total) of another novel which was to be Mills & Boon story, which over the next nearly three years was to change a little and become Italian Infatuation.  Wow. Again, I totally don’t remember writing that. Isn’t it weird how you forget.


Changing the subject drastically – ROW80. We’re getting close to the end now. 7 days to go in fact. My mini goal for 300 words (or 30 mins editing) a day from 9th June to 22nd is going… ok.

I did a little on Sunday as I wrote about on my blog that day, on Monday I did a little editing of something I was going to read that night at writing group, but then I got ill. A really heavy cold literally came from nowhere and beat me to the ground.

That night I was too ill to go to writing group (after I actually edited something – takes the you know what doesn’t it!), yesterday I was too ill for work, and actually to ill for anything other than lying in bed trying not to die (and reading). Today I’ve made up for it. So far I’ve written 831 words. I plan to write more.

Because of all this I’m on the way to catching up with where I should be right now. I’ve got a quiet weekend coming up, so I know I can reach, and exceed the mini goal.

My goal for the whole project is slightly further out of reach. I was aiming for 24k total words (or 2,400 minutes editing or on my writing course), I’m currently on 13,302 (which is made up of 11,852 words, 115 minutes editing and 30 minutes on my writing course).

I possibly set my goals too high. But you know what? I don’t care. This project has encouraged me to write and edit more than I possibly would have done without it  – I’m guessing I would have written about 7,000 in that time, had I not have been doing it. So therefore those extra 5k (so far) words are a result!

ROW80 – Round Three starts on 4th July. Am I in? You bet I am!

Ooh, one final thing. I started reading Faking It by Lotte Daley yesterday. I finished it this morning. After the previous two weird novels I read, I knew I needed something pink and fluffy to read, and what could be better than a pink novel with a cover picture of a girl… with her dress tucked in her pants. Perfect eh? If you need a really good chick lit novel I recommend this 100%.

#ROW80 Check in – Sunday 12th June

My bedroom clock says 0.00 Monday, but my mobile says 11.57, so I’m not late, ha ha!

I’m not doing great, but I’m not doing too badly. Although that’s only because of today. This morning I managed 540 words – almost double my daily goal. However I’d done nothing since my last check in on Wednesday – the check where I realised if I hit my target of 300 words a day I’ll get 4k+ by the end of this round of ROW80.

Although on this mini goal I’m now 700 words behind, I’m determined I’m going to do it. I started a story for Fiction Friday last week, and I worked more on it earlier today, and I’m feeling quite into it, so I’m going to keep at it for a while. I don’t think it will go anywhere as there’s not really a good enough story line, but it’s an experiment in creating sexual tension, and a couple getting together for the first time. I know I need more of this in Italian Infatuation so I think this is really useful to do.

I also had a bit of a realisation today – I want to work more on ‘Holiday.’ ‘Holiday’ is another novel I’m working on, that I actually started writing well over 2 years ago – it’s just slow going. Having said that, I have high hopes for it, I love the story idea and think it will make a brilliant novel. When I get finish it. Oh, and change the title to something I actually like – ‘Holiday’ is definitely a working title!

The thing that has been putting me off it is that I’ve got so many bitty bits of it that I don’t know what to write, when. When I did Italian Infatuation and The Dating Project for NaNoWriMo 2009 and 2010 respectively I did them chronologically so I knew where I was at all times. ‘Holiday’ scares me because I don’t have a clue.

I really didn’t think this was a good way of writing, but at the time I was writing things as they came in my head, or later on when I knew how the story would shape up, as they interested me. When I met Chrissie Manby a few weeks ago at the Girl’s Night In at Brixton Library she said that she writes like that – in a random order. There’s something comforting knowing that someone has had success writing this way – it’s inspiring.

So, at some point in the very near future, I’m going to get out my old laptop and look at ‘Holiday,’ see where it is and where I need to go, and work on it a little more. I’m determined I’m going to get a pattern together in my life where I write and edit, oh, and work on my writing course.

It won’t be tomorrow though, tomorrow I’m going to make an appearance at the writing group I joined a few months ago, but that I have only been to twice. Go me!

Fiction Friday – 10th June

Use the theme “On a wing and a prayer”


‘On a wiiiiiiiiing and a prayer-eeeer-eeeeeeer, I’ll taaaaaaake yoooooooou theeeeeeeere.’ Liz bows at the few people walking past, then trips over. Giggling, she holds her hand up for John to help her.

‘On a wing and a prayer?’ Liz nods at Andy as she struggles to her feet. ‘I’ll take you there?’

‘You bet honey.’ She straightens her now grubby skirt and smooths down her hair.

‘You know that’s not a song right?’ Liz sighs and starts walking off.

‘You know your problem is you have no imagination.’ She twirls round 360 degrees only just keeping her balance as she makes it.

Andy sighs and runs the few steps to catch her if she falls. ‘I blame you for this,’ he shouts behind him.

‘Yes, you naughty naughty boy.’ Amy slaps John playfully on the arm and catches his eye. She knows she promised Liz nothing would happen, but right now, she wasn’t sure if it was a promise she could stick to. They just connected.

‘I’m pretty sure he’s talking to you,’ John retaliates, grabbing her hand and tightening his fingers around hers as they walk along. ‘After all, you were the one doing Jagerbombs with her.’ Amy gasps and pulls her hand away – she’s not going to make it that easy for him.

‘I may have been doing them with her, but you, mister,’ she stops and turned to face him, poking her finger in his chest, ‘Were the one buying them.’ Her finger sticks to John’s chest for longer than it should. Her eyes are drawn up to his. She feels breathless.

‘So we’re as bad as each other then are we?’ Amy has no idea if he’s still talking about the drinking.

‘I…’ she beginnings, but can’t for the life of her remember what she was going to say. She drags her finger down his chest, down his rock hard stomach and stops it at the top of his jeans. Amy reminds herself to breath.

‘You…?’ he asks, bending his head a fraction. She stops breathing again. A million butterflies start dancing in her stomach and her heart literally stops beating. She bites her bottom lip as he inches slightly lower.

‘Jeez you two,’ Andy shouts spoiling the moment. Amy instantly drops her hand at the same second John stands up straight. ‘I could do with a hand here please, I’ve got us a taxi.’ They look back at each other for a second before starting towards Liz and Andy. John puts his arm round her and squeezes her shoulder and she can’t help grinning. She’s never going to be able to keep that promise to Liz now.

It’s a good thing she can use the payback excuse. You can’t go out with someone’s brother and then expect them not to go anywhere near your brother. Especially when your brother was as hot as John. Especially when he was only in town for a couple of weeks, so could be the perfect rebound fling. And especially when said brother currently had his hand on your arse!


I’m not too sure about the last paragraph – I think that would be the first thing to be rewritten in an edit (as per the . Please let me know what you think of it.

#row80 Check In – Wednesday 8th June

I was just thinking how bad I am, because I didn’t do a check in on Sunday for A Round of Words in 80 Days, until I looked at my blog, and realised not only did I not do one at the weekend, I’ve not done one this month! Which means I missed last Wednesday too. Oops.

There was a pretty good reason for missing last Wednesday’s (depending on what you class as a good reason – it’s also a pretty shocking reason) – I hadn’t done anything since the previous check in. I think the reason I didn’t check in on Sunday was that I hadn’t done anything over the weekend. I guess the reason I AM checking in today, is that I’ve done some writing – YAY!

Today I’ve written 500+ words – my Fiction Friday piece for this week. On Monday I wrote a little something. Well the beginning to something anyway. I doubt I’ll ever carry on, but who knows. I think the important thing is that I did some writing.

I’ve been wondering if I should drop my goals. The weekly equivalent of 300 words a day seems to be quite a lot, and I’m struggling to meet it (once in over 2 months). The reason I haven’t done yet (and probably won’t do) is that I think it’s good to aim high. If I had low goals and I met them, I know I’d give up and not go too much over, whereas having high ones gives me something to aim for.

There’s only a few weeks left of this round of ROW80 – it finishes on 22nd June. If I was to write 300 words a day until the end… I’d have 4,200 more words (or 420 minutes of editing). That would be pretty awesome. There’s a challenge (well a challenge within a challenge, if you see what I mean). I’m going to do it. I’m really going to do it.

A to Z Challenge – The Struggle with ‘I’ and ‘J’

I finished A.M. Home’s This Book Will Save Your Life last night. I enjoyed it, but in the same was as American Gods (Neil Gaiman) – I have no idea why. Unlike AG, I didn’t spend the whole book wondering what the hell was going on, I spent it wondering what the point was. But, I still enjoyed it, and I got to the ‘can’t put it down’ stage. Weird.

My friend saw I was reading it and commented on it ‘Nothing happens.’ It’s kind of true, but I still enjoyed it.

So that brings me on to letter I. Let me tell you, there aren’t that many authors whose surname begins with I. In Waterstones book store I found a couple. One book slightly interested me, but not all that much. Not enough to spend just £3 on it. 

Today I went to the library. Barbican library is a pretty big one in the heart of LondonCity. In ‘Fiction,’ ‘Romance,’ ‘Sci-fi,’ ‘Fantasy,’ ‘Young Adult’ and ‘Large Print’ I found about 5 novels. None of them really leapt at me. I wondered about for over half an hour and in the end couldn’t decide between 2 – Graham Ison’s ‘Lost or Found’ and Kazuo Ishiguro’s A Pale View of Hills – so I got them both. I still can’t decide. I think I know which I’d prefer, but I’m not 100%. I almost feel like I should read the one I’m not as drawn to, just to read something totally different to normal – isn’t that the point of this challenge? Doing something different.

I don’t know. But I’ll let you know as soon as I do.

I also did something naughty. I picked up another book. It wasn’t too naughty, it was letter J – which will be my next book, but I already had a J. I also already had a J in mind to buy. Uhhh, oops. But the J I have and the J I wanted to buy are by the same author as the J I picked up today – Lisa Jewell. I’ve had After The Party for over a year, but it is a signed copy from when I met her so part of me doesn’t want to read it and mess it up (plus when I got it I was going through a break up and couldn’t handle the idea of a couple breaking up OR staying together in the book I was reading, so couldn’t read it then. Having said that, we’ve been back together 8 months, so that’s a pretty rubbish excuse!). The one I want to buy is her new one The Making of Us. When I met Lisa she was just finishing this and told us all about it, so I’ve spent a year wanting to read it. Which is why I picked up The Truth About Melody Browne today.

I figure if I decide to read After the Party, or buy the other one, I can just take this one back to the library, no worries. This is what I tell myself.

I’ve not done any writing or editing for days and days. I meant to last night, but was just too tired to get any motivation at all. I’m going out tonight, but might stay back at work for half an hour before I go to do some writing. It’s better doing that than saying I’ll do it when I get in – very doubtful.

Spotlight By Ilana Fox ( @ilana )

I’m not a massive fan of ‘celebrity’ and ‘rich and famous’ novels, so wasn’t expecting to like this all that much – but I am so happy I read it – it’s brilliant. I was totally drawn in from the first page, and could not put it down after the 3rd (hence the huge black eyes, reading it was more important than sleep).
Madison (awesome name) and Jess could be you or me, or definitely your best friend, they’re so realistic… and nice. From the off I found myself routing for them and not wanting anything bad to happen to them. The ending was amazing too, I won’t give anything away, but it moved me enough to cry. A lot.
I honestly can’t recommend this novel enough.
This is the first Ilana Fox novel I’ve read – it definitely won’t be the last.

Fiction Friday – 3rd June – I Miss My Best Friend

‘I miss my best friend, my other half, my everything. The children miss their mother, they don’t understand…’

Lisa looked away as John carried on and another tear slid down her face – she knew exactly how they felt. But they had a right to, sitting here with her mascara in rivers down her face, she felt like a fraud.

It had been three years since she last saw Jane. Three and a half actually. Jessica had been a baby, Tom only a toddler. They hadn’t fallen out, life had just got in the way. Work, meetings, moving, family visits, every time either of them thought about making the trip, something came up. Peter and her had got as far as booking flights for September, but then she’d got pregnant and had been so ill, she hadn’t wanted to make the journey.  Jane, John and the kids were going to come up after the birth, definitely this time, no excuses.

She put her hand on her stomach, which caused another flood of tears to appear – how unfair was it that Jane would never meet her bump. She would have been its godmother, just as Lisa was for Tom and Jessica. Except Jane would be a much better one than she’d been so far.

That had to change. If the kids didn’t have a mother, they had to have a damn good god mother. One they see more than once every three years. One they recognise from seeing all the time, not just from photos.

Peter and Lisa had talked about living arrangements. They were both really happy in Scotland, but had secretly wanted to come home to have children. Life got in the way, but now this happened, now their lives had been blown apart by this tragic accident, they knew without a doubt it was the right thing to do.

The right thing for Tom and Jessica, the right thing for his mother and both her parents, the right thing for Peter, the right thing for the baby, and the right thing for them. They wanted to have this baby surrounded by friends and family, not with superficial friends they’d known a year or so, but had suddenly become distant as soon as Lisa announced her pregnancy. Fair weather friends – fair bar and club friends more like!

If only they’d made that decision six months ago, a year. Damn it, if they’d made it two months ago. They might have been there to stop it. Lisa might have been paying a little bit more attention to the kids dropping toys and picked up the rouge car. Jane wouldn’t have slipped and they wouldn’t be here.

Everyone started clapping. John had finished. He sat back down next to Lisa. She tried to smile at him. She was sure it was a great speech, she just hadn’t heard much of it. Lisa grabbed John’s hand and squeezed it. He squeezed it back.

They both looked up at the vicar carried on with the service.

The prompt from WriteAnything today was ‘Use this sentiment or theme for your story “I miss my best friend.” ‘ As always this is unedited. Please let me know what you think, and take a few minutes to visit some other stories today, there’s some great ones out there!