Archive | September 2011

National Novel Writing Month 2011

Ok, I’m going to admit it. I’m in.

I’d been holding out saying anything for sure because I hadn’t decided 100% if I should or not. Reasons for not doing it: by the end it would mean my written novels total – 2 finished 1st draft (providing I finish ‘Holiday’ by the end of October) and 2 half/three-quarters done. Apparently that’s  the only thing that has been stopping me from wanting to take part. Ooh, there’s also the fact that once it’s over it takes me about 3 months to start writing again.

My reasons for wanting to do it:

  • I love a challenge
  • I’m so competitive with myself I like to prove I can do it
  • I love the London NaNo events – both meeting the people and the atmosphere at write ins. And of course the drinks after sometimes.
  • I like being one of those 100,000 odd mad people who take part – each year I think –I’m doing it, I’m one of them!
  • I like the idea of having another novel I’ve written/part written

When you look at it like that, there’s no choice is there. 1 pretty rubbish reason vs 5 much better reasons.

Plus when I blogged about not doing it a while ago, I had so many people on here trying to talk me into it. And then in real life my boyfriend told me I was stupid not to consider doing it.

So for the last month or so, it’s been at the back of my mind. I’ve been thinking I’ll probably do it, but just wasn’t 100% sure.

Until last night.

I was doing the washing up, thinking about something and nothing – kind of imagining a situation – as you do. Then I realised that was silly, silly for my life, but could work for a novel. And my idea for NaNo was born.

I spent the rest of the time in the kitchen last night (I made sure dinner took a while and I did all the washing up and cleaning up) thinking about it, and then in the shower I thought more about it and developed it more.

I totally think it’s got legs! When I first thought it up I thought the MC would be a woman in her early 30s. Maybe late 20s. But, I kind of think she might be 17/18 instead. Right now it doesn’t really matter. I need to concentrate on ‘Holiday’ to get that finished by 31st October. I’ll make a few notes on this new novel but try not to let it encroach on my thoughts too much.

In other news, Jane Fallon linked yesterday’s blog about her party on Monday night on her Facebook page. I admitted it was me – on Facebook. For anyone to see. That’s a pretty big step! Look at me go!

I’ve just been for a 30 minute walk. Right now I feel like I’m battling with myself for time exercising and time writing. If I’m at home the battle becomes three-way with spring cleaning. I’ve got a plan for the rest of the week though: tonight after work write for 40 minutes before I head out. Tomorrow lunch time write for 30 minutes, tomorrow after work run home (a friend’s coming for dinner, but she’s not going to be at mine until 7.30 – plenty of time), then friday… Ok I’ve not got as far as Friday. I don’t think I have any plans in the evening, and the boy will probably be out, so I’ll probably run home, then write when I get there.

I love having a plan.

Are you doing NaNo? How ready for it are you?

A Blogger’s Night with Jane Fallon

I said to someone this morning ‘I love my secret blogging life.’ It’s so true.

Last night I had the utter privilege to get on the invite list for Jane Fallon’s new novel (The Ugly Sister – brilliant – review to follow) blogger’s party.

It was basically a chance for book bloggers to get together, meet each other face to face (which we never do, we consider ourselves friends without even knowing what the others look and sound like!), chat and to meet Jane Fallon. It was so much fun. Oh, and did I mention it was at The Ivy?? Yeah… I know!

A few years ago I ‘met’  a girl called Laura who hosts an awesome site Novel Kicks I can’t remember how, maybe Twitter, maybe her blog, maybe mine? Last year we nearly met in the flesh at a Lisa Jewell event. I say nearly because although we sat next to each other, we had no idea who the other was, until the next day when we were both tweeting about it! Doh!

Laura emailed me last week and asked if I’d be interested in a Jane Fallon party (Jane Fallon as in the author of Getting Rid of Matthew, Got You Back and one of my all-time favourite books Foursome) because she’s releasing a new novel The Ugly Sister later in the week. Uh, wow, YEAH! She spoke to someone at Penguin who decided I was worthy of getting on the invite list. To THE IVY!

So I met up with Laura, who is just as wicked in real life as she is through Twitter and on her site. We had a quick drink (and dry off – it poured with rain just as I left work), then headed over to The Ivy. Luckily we managed to avoid getting drenched by passing taxi’s al la Bridget Jones and got there.

The people from Penguin were so friendly and welcoming, as were the canapes and champagne! After a while of chatting to Laura, Elle from Trashionista, and other fun people, I got introduced to Jane, and you know what? She’s lovely. Really nice, genuine, down to earth lady, who has read my blog (Hi Jane if you’re reading again *waves*).

Because it was more of a party than a book launch, there was no speech by Jane, no Q&A session and no reading from The Ugly Sister. I was a little disappointed when I found that out, but in actual fact it was better, because it gave everyone a chance to talk to Jane in person, rather than firing questions out of the audience and maybe having a three minute chat while she signed our books.

Jane was so encouraging and genuinely interested in my novel (novels actually) and what I write, and she said exactly the same as Lisa Jewell had, that she loves editing. There must be something in it if everyone keeps saying this. I need to get off my backside and edit Italian Infatuation. After I’ve finished ‘Holiday’ and done NaNo that is. Hmmm.

I can’t remember all the things we talked about, but I spent a lot of the night just chatting to her. The thing that I always take from events like this, is that authors are just like you and me, they just finished their novels and got them published. Once upon a time Jane was just a woman with an idea – just like me now.

Another great, really inspiring thing is that according to her bio, Jane is 20 years older than me (you wouldn’t think it to look at her), but her first novel wasn’t published until 2007. It’s quite a nice reminder that you don’t have to be in your early 20s to get your book published.

As I thought would happen, I’m now desperate to write my novel. Obviously a lot of chat last night was with non-published authors about writing etc, and it’s just made me want to write. Someone asked me when I find the time to write with a full-time job, and it made me realise that I never make time for writing. I just do it when I can (when I remember more like!). I think this is something I can improve on to become more productive. Maybe set aside 2 lunchtimes at work a week, and 2 hours 2 evenings a week. Maybe even a couple of hours each weekend. It’s not much is it? Not if it helps me achieve my dream!

All in all, I had a brilliant night. Thank you Laura for getting me on the invite, thanks everyone at penguin for hosting – it was great to meet you all, and all the other bloggers. And of course Jane – keep up the good work with the novels – I’m looking forward to the next party 🙂

The Ugly Sister is (brilliant) out 29th September. I’ll review very soon.

ROW80 Round Three Round Up and More

ROW80 Round 3 ended last week. I didn’t do great. No where near as good as Round 2.

My goals was to write 14,280 words over the 80 days – that equates to 250 words, five times a week. Out of the 80 days, there were only 15 days I wrote. 15!!! What the hell is wrong with me? Most of those days I did well, other than 2 days I did more than 250 – sometimes well more than 250. In total I wrote 10,174. It would have been a lot less, had I not have had a last-minute add on of 1368 on the final day. If only I could have achieved that everyday!

I’m really annoyed with myself for not doing better, but I think more annoyed that I don’t know why I’m not doing well.

Since last Wednesday (when the round finished) I had a good session on Friday night (700+ words) and a pretty decent one on Saturday night too (I can’t remember how many words I wrote then, but it was definitely over 500 – I think maybe  more. 800? I can’t remember), so it’s not like I’m completely stuck.

Far from it actually, the story’s coming on ok. Every time I start typing I have no idea what I’m going to write, but then I’ll start and something will come out. I have no idea if it’s something good, ok or rubbish, because I don’t read back what I’ve written (I’m good with keeping the internal editor at bay, but I think only because I never let myself read what I’ve written). The main thing is I’m writing.

The problem is definitely getting down to the writing. Once I start, I don’t have a problem. 1368, 700 and 600 or something words in a day over the last week proves that, but it’s the getting to do it.

We still don’ t have internet at home. I keep thinking this should make me write more, but I think it’s stopping me write as much. If we had the internet, I’d turn on the computer to look on Facebook, or to blog, or something. Then I’d have it on and think about writing. As we don’t, I don’t, so it doesn’t even cross my mind.

I need to get in the habit of turning it on. My boyfriend helped me on Saturday when he pretty much made me sit down and do some writing. I hated him for it, but without it I wouldn’t have done anything!

Thinking about all this… I’ve decided (literally as I’ve been writing this blog) that I will take part in ROW80 Round 4. Every year for the last 2 years I’ve done a writing challenge in October. I feel it’s a good warm up for NaNo (I think I’ve decided I will be doing it, but not 100%. I’ll decide soon and blog about it – promise). This year I’ve got the added incentive that I want to get ‘Holiday’ finished by 31st October.

I don’t know how many words I’ve written since whenever I decided I had to finish it by October. The plan was 40,000 words by then (which should hopefully take it finished – 80,000 is what I’m targeting). I’ve probably got about 30,000 left to write. Agh!

Of course, now I’ve killed my laptop (TBC – boyfriend couldn’t do anything, we’re going to try to get his Dad to look at it when we go up there in a few weeks) I have no way of looking. That’s annoying. I’m trying not to think about it though at the moment.

Goals then for ROW80 Round 4. Well, for 30 of those days I’ll be writing 1,667 words a day. What about the other 50 days? 250 words a day? I think that’s pretty good. And should push me a little more than 250 words a day, 5 times a week.

I think in December I may need a break… but maybe a push to 250 words  a day would be good. I’ve never written anything in December since I started NaNo, so it will be an experience.

To read more about A Round of Words in 80 Days, check out the website here.

So, who’s with me for ROW80 – Round 4? I hope the people who did round 2 and 3 are back in, even though I’ve not interacted with them as much as I would have liked, it’s been great fun getting to know them.

Sunday 18th’s Late Check In

Oh. My. God. This is the penultimate check in for this round of ROW80. Eek!

Well. It’s obviously much too early to do a round up, I’ve still got today, tomorrow and Wednesday to go. But, it’s really not looking good.

At the end of round 2, I estimated that I would have written about 7k in the time, had I not have been doing ROW80. Hmm. This round is the same length of time (the ‘In 80 days’ gives it away a bit doesn’t it!) so the same stands. I guess I could look positively and say, yay, I’ve done more than that. BUT, it’s only a thousand more. Nearly 2 thousand.

I guess I do still have until Wednesday. 11.59 on Wednesday too. If I can just do a couple of days of full on writing… I’ve just done 282 words. I can probably squeeze some more in after work, before I leave the office, then a few more when I get home. Tomorrow I can’t at lunch, but could after work. Wednesday I’m going toChichesterfor work, so technically will have the train journeys, but I’ll be with a colleague so not sure if I’ll be able to. But will definitely be able to after work.

At the moment it’s not too bad. But there’s less than 72 hours to bad.

I’m going to give it a go. I need 5474 more words to reach my target for this round. Possible but not probable. I’m just going to aim for ‘as many as I can’ for the next few days!

I don’t know if I’ll join for Round 4 (I presume there will be a round 4? I can’t imagine there wouldn’t be… would there?). It would probably be a good idea, but it’s not really worked for me this time. Maybe a break of a few weeks is what I need before I just on the round 4 wagon. I don’t know. If you’re a ROW-er, are you carrying on with the next round?

How To Kick Yourself into Action… Or Break Things Trying

My laptop died last night. I had it sat there, on my bed, all excited and ready to go. I’d just moved the file I’ve been working on for the last month onto it (deleted it off my memory stick!) and was doing a bit of reading, and it died. It just went ‘zzzzzzzzzz’ and shut down. And wouldn’t come back on.

Boyfriend thought it may have blown a fuse, but after hunting for a while for a 13Amp fuse (note, we need to buy some spare fuses – taking them out of kettles isn’t ideal) and trying it, he found that wasn’t the problem. He then felt the laptop and said it was very very hot, maybe it was too hot and it would cool down. Half an hour late it was cool but still wouldn’t turn on.

Ah.

I’m not panicking too much. Not too much. It’s not like I’ve NEVER backed anything from it up or anything. I keep meaning to, in fact when I turned it on yesterday it reminded me I need to, and I thought, sure, yeah, tomorrow. Not only had it got everything I’ve done in the 16 months on it, when I got it, I copied everything from my old laptop over too. So basically the last… um… 9 years of stuff. Photos, writing… well just photos and writing.

Right now, I’m not panicking. I’m not letting myself think about what this could mean. My mind totally hasn’t crept to the idea of losing everything. I don’t think I’d be sat here typing if I let my mind think too much about it.

Plus, there’s a couple of other factors.

Said boyfriend is amazing with computers. He may be able to fix it. If he can’t he assures me everything can be saved from it. I don’t know how, I don’t know if I believe it’s true, but I do believe he can do it (contradiction I know!). So at the moment I’m not thinking about it. 

The huge problem with this is… I was just about to get stuck back into Holiday. I’d gone in the bedroom to do some writing, and had found in a draw a load of scenes that I thought I had lost in the abyss! I was so excited. I read one of the scenes, and it was really good. Well, I thought it was anyway. That’s got me back into it.

I also ordered my post it notes on the bedroom wall – I was going to update them, but couldn’t find any blank ones.

But now my laptop’s died… I’m convinced it’s not going to stop me writing. This is a story I have to tell, and I’m GOING to get it out. In fact, I’m going to do some writing in just a minute.

I really need to blog about the amazing awards that the fantastic Em at ‘Loves to Read, Wants to Write’ and PT_Writer at ‘Tales From the Writer’s Laptop’ have given me. Unfortunately I’ve run out of time to do it now, but I’ll try over the weekend. Until then, go, take a look at their blogs – they are both FANTASTIC!

A Late Sunday #ROW80 Check In

Something has to change. As seems to be the pattern at the moment, I did no writing over the weekend. The thing that’s changed, and made me realise that something has to change, is that I didn’t even think about writing.

Usually I think I should do some, but then get distracted by this or that or the other. This weekend, it didn’t even cross my mind. Not even when I saw Kait’s Check-In email (although I read that stupidly early in the morning, so maybe it’s not surprising).

I just don’t know how I’ve managed to get myself into this situation. It’s like I just don’t have any motivation to even think about writing. And I’m supposed to be finishing ‘Holiday’ by the end of October, and deciding if I’m doing NaNo (probably) and getting an idea for that. What’s wrong with me?

It’s possible it’s because there’s a lot of other stuff going on at the moment, nothing mega really, but enough to keep my mind occupied. Maybe I’m just making excuses. But if I am – why am I having to?

I don’t know if I’m enjoying writing ‘Holiday’ as much as I have done before, but then I’m really writing filler bits at the moment (last week I finished a filler scene). Maybe I need to jump to something exciting to get me back into it and get me motivated. I’ve only written the first chapter in note form, so I could jump on that one straight away.

I know I’ve got lots to fill in – the start, a bit after a funeral, this, the other, and I think I feel like I should go back and fill them before I move on towards the end – I probably think this because I don’t really know what’s going to happen in the last quarter of the novel. That worries me, but I think I should just go with it. I was worried about the scene I just finished, but that ended up going really well.

I’ve got a semi idea for a NaNo novel. Not really as much as an idea, but maybe a spark of an idea. I need to think it through, because it’s really only one scene and that’s it, but I like the character, she could be fun to play with. But, I want to spend my time writing ‘Holiday’ not planning a novel that I may or may not write. At least this is one good thing, at lease I WANT to spend my time on ‘Holiday,’ now, if I could just make the move towards DOING!

I’ve just finished my lunch break… but maybe I’ll spend another 10 minutes on it, and do some writing!

A Friday Blog – Actually About Writing

I did some writing last night. Woo! I was going to start this saying ‘I did some writing last night, not a lot but some,’ but then I realised what I was thinking.

I wrote 504 words. For some reason my brain calculates 504 words as not a lot. My daily goal is 250 words (5 days a week), so I’ve more than doubled my daily goal. In one day. That is nothing to be sniffed at. When I think about it that way, I’m a lot happier about it!

I also achieved something. I finished the scene I’ve been working on for the last… um… quite a while actually. I started it thinking it was just going to be a little filler scene that it wasn’t going to serve much purpose other than showing the MC is starting to get over her ex. It’s turned into another serious plot line. Not a massive one, but another sub plot. That’s a good thing. Will be interesting to see what happens next.

I’m now back to the problem of – what do I write next? Obviously I need to stick to ‘Holiday,’ but which scene do I move on to? I’ve got the problem that there’s a five or six week gap between the scene I’m on now, and the bit before they go on holiday. Nothing much happens there, so I don’t think I need to do any more than one scene, but it’s going to be a decision of when that scene is.

Will it be the next morning? That would be quite good, but maybe I could tie it in with something else a few weeks later. Maybe I could change the end of the scene I’ve just written and then have the next one two weeks later, then pick up where I’ve written before. Wow, this is tough!

There was me thinking it was taking me so long because I’m lazy – not because it’s tough (does that show how out of the writing loop I’ve been, if I’ve forgotten how hard this writing thing is??).

Anyway, there’s something I’ve been meaning to blog about for ages, but keep forgetting.

In this novel, there is a lot of drinking. My MC is a late twenties single girl living (I’d like to say the dream, but seeing as it’s chick lit, she really isn’t) in London. She works hard and plays hard – including a lot of drinking. She then goes on holiday, which obviously includes a LOT of drinking.

A while ago I started worrying about this. Is heavy drinking really acceptable in chick lit? Can I remember any other books where they did a lot of drinking? No, I can’t. Does that mean it’s not acceptable? If it isn’t, do I care? This is my novel… but then I don’t want to alienate readers thinking Kate is a piss head. Which is isn’t really, she just enjoys life. This went on and on.

And then… while stressing about this quite a lot… I read Still Thinking of You by Adele Parks. Ahh, good old Adele – they drank all the way through the book. Yay! I think I just needed someone else to say – look doing this is ok, and I found it by accident.

For all I know, there could be tons and tons of chick lit with drinking. I could have read it, but you know sometimes you just can’t think of any? That was me, for weeks! I’m so glad I read STOY.

What I have changed about the novel is the number of people I had the MC sleeping with. There’s her ex (the obligatory going back because she thinks it means she’s getting back with him), there’s the ex ex – her best friend, because, well you know, they have to for the story to work. Then I also had a scene where she had a one night stand.

It was supposed to show that she was getting over her ex. Actually, that’s a lie. I wrote this scene once about being hungover and the character not really remembering who it was she was waking up next to, and it worked really well in this story so I added it, and found a reason to.

But, sleeping with 3 men in one novel? A bit too much isn’t it? I think so. Kate – I think she still wants to have this other guy (especially because he’s someone semi famous – and pretty hot), and I still want him, but only because I think it’s a great scene.

What is ‘Holiday’s’ loss, will at some point be some other novel/stories gain I’m sure – I’m sure it will get used somewhere at some point. Maybe I could base my NaNo novel on that scene? The MC’s housemate had such a good reaction to someone she had no idea about. It was brilliant. Even if I do say so myself!

Right, should go do some work.

Have a great weekend all – get loads of lovely lovely words written!