Archive | January 2014

Editing/Reading – Week Three

I’m on week three of project edit. Of course, as I’ve not touched the book for about a year, stage one is actually reading through, to remind myself of the story, what I’ve got and what’s missing.

Reading through means I can do it on the tube to and from work, which is great, for this stage. I’m worried about the next stage, where I actually have to sit down and make time for doing it. I have time, I know I do, but at the moment, I’m in the habit of getting home from work and chilling with the boyfriend in front of the TV, watching one of the many, many series’ we’re in the middle of.

I need to remind myself that this is what I want though. Long term it is. I really do. At the moment, it kind of feels like it’s not a priority. Work is so busy I’m not sure I have the energy for anything out of office hours. But I do want this this. I want to write, I want to publish a book, I want to be a writer. I go to RNA (Romantic Novelists’ Association) events and it’s as such a reminder that I want to be there as a full member, not a NWS (New Writers’ Scheme) member.

I’m liking my novel. Well, parts of it. Some parts I read and I think ‘Wow, editing this bit will be really easy,’ (because I’m basically going to delete it all), but on the flip side, I’ve almost missed my tube stop a couple of times because I’ve really got into it. That must be good. I’ll be reading it, and totally forget it’s my writing, and enjoy it. Yes, enjoy it. And because I’ve forgotten it’s mine, that must be good, right?

I’m up to page 60 of about 89 pages. Of the main bit. From something I read the other day (notes at the bottom of a page), I’ve got some more, somewhere (that I need to find sometime – maybe another computer or something). So I’ve maybe got another week or so of reading.

The plan is… to post-it note it. That involves putting post-it notes up on a wall in the bedroom. Hopefully the boyfriend won’t mind (and hopefully the people looking round the flat won’t mind – we’re moving in a couple of months, so will have agents showing people round looking for new renters soon). I’ve started them – I started them last time I was ‘editing’ (which didn’t last long, definitely not to page 60!). My plan is to have 2 colours of notes. One for major plot points, and one for each tiny detail. With it all up on the wall, I should be able to work out what’s missing, and what needs removing (from a plotting point). I know there’s bits missing, because I wrote sporadically, and jumped between bits, not filling in details. I also know there’s a side story I started, but didn’t continue, so needs to be added back in.

I’m looking forward to it. So much, that instead of reading tonight, I’m writing this blog (and drinking wine!).

:-/

No I am.

I am. I’ve not editing anything other than a short story, and a dissertation (10,000 word university dissertation, but non-fiction obviously). I think I am. I’m just not looking forward to finding the time. At the moment, I’m ‘editing’ (reading) three times a week. Once I get to editing, editing, I’m going to cut it down to once a week, to make it manageable. I’m going to put it in the diary, and either get the boyfriend to cook, or have something cooked the night before, so I can’t use cooking as an excuse.

I also hope I’ll start blogging more. I used to love blogging so much. And I WILL get back into it!

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ROW80 Check-in

I forgot to check in last week. I’m planning on one check in a week, at the end of the week, so Sunday. Last Sunday I totally forgot, so was going to do Monday, then work got in the way and I kept forgetting again, and now we’re here, a week later. Really, this is 2 weeks worth of check ins.

– Spend some time at least three times a week, editing. I’ve been pretty good at this. Mainly cause I’m just on the reading through stage (to remind myself of what the hell the novel is), so it’s easy at the moment. I think I’ve done this at least 3 times a week for the last 2 weeks. I’ve read up to p60 this year (A4 pages, size 10 font, single line spaced – so quite a lot). I’m getting near-ish where I have to do some real editing.  That’s scary, but I’m on a roll, so I’ll carry on.

– Exercise three times a week. If it’s walking, no less than for 20 minutes. I went for my first run of the year today. I’ve been putting it off for a week, but I finally did it, and it wasn’t as hard as I thought – in fact, I’m a lot fitter than I expected considering I’ve not done any exercise other than walking for nearly 4 months. I’ve also got back into the habit of getting off the tube a stop early and walking the rest of the way to work. It’s only 12 minutes, but that’s 12 minutes more than I was doing.

– Fast 2 days a week (500 calories a day). Done. I was going to do 3 this week, but today pretty much fell apart (I want to blame someone, but really can only blame myself, I caved in to the cookies I made last night, then left a pizza out the freezer, so had a choice of eating, or throwing away, I chose eating!).

– Check in for ROW80 once a week, one book review blog once a week. This week, complete – this blog and I reviewed Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor over on Novelkicks (read it here). Last week, I did none. I’m going to focus on the positives of this week though!

All in all, I’d say I’m doing well (this week, we’ll ignore last). The editing is going well, the reviewing is going well, I’m blogging on time. I’m also exercising and eating like I should (I’ve lost 4lb in the last 2 weeks).

My goals pretty much stay the same this week, except I may  have to reduce to 1 fast, because life is likely to get in the way! Here’s to another good week!

ROW80 – The First Week 2014

It’s the end of my first week back doing ROW80 for, I think a year. Wow. It’s gone really well. Quite well? Let’s look:

-Spend some time at least three times a week, editing. I’m at the reading the novel stage of editing. I’ve read I think 3 or 4 days this week, and read about 30 pages I think. That’s a great start. 

– Exercise three times a week. If it’s walking, no less than for 20 minutes. OK, so I’ve not done this. I did one lot of over 20 minute walking. 

– Fast 2 days a week (500 calories a day). I managed one fast day (today) and one day with lower than usual calories (1,000). It’s first week back, so not too bad. 

– Check in for ROW80 once a week, one book review blog once a week. This is my check in. I wrote a review of How To Look Like You by Rose McClelland for Novelkicks, AND one for Here’s Looking At You by Mhairi McFarlene for this blog. That’s a huge pass. In addition, I also wrote two 2014 read challenge blogs – one for the Global Reading Challenge, and one for the TBR Pile Challenge (my 3rd year!).

Next week, I’m going to keep my goals the same.The ones I completed, I know I can again, and the ones I didn’t, I know I can do. They’re basic, but do-able. 

How was your week?

 

2014 TBR Pile Challenge

I’m very excited that Roof Beam Reader is hosting the TBR Pile Reading Challenge again – for the 5th year! I’ve started the last two years, but failed both, so I’m hoping to do better this year!

The challenge is, as it suggests to read books from your TBR Pile. I can’t even count how many are on my list, and book shelf. We’re thinking about moving in a couple of months, so last weekend, I took a box – big box – of books to our storage unit to get them out the flat. And I’ve still got 4 shelves fully – with two rows per shelf. So there’s loads.

This year though, I decided to take books, partly off my shelf, but mainly from the list I’ve written over the last few years. Every time I see a book I want to read, in a magazine, shop, on TV, a friend recommends, or wherever, I write it on this list. It’s quite long.

I have to choose 12, and 2 spares (just in case) now, then as I read them, review them, link on here, and on Roof Beem Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge. Here’s my 2014 list:

1 – The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (2012)

2 – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2011) (21/2/14)

3 – The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year by Sue Townsend (2012)

4 – Lets Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (2012)

5 – Breakfast at Darcy’s Ali McNamara (2011)

6 – How We Met by Katy Regan (2012)

7 – The Man Who Forgot His Wife John O’Farrell (2012)

8 – Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coeho (1998)

9 – China Lake by Meg Gardiner (2002)

10 – The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern (2011)

11 – Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell (2012)

12 – The Greatest love Story of All Time by Lucy Robinson (2012)

And the extras, in case I can’t get through one or two.

13 – Something Missing by Matthew Dicks (2009)

14 – The Other Family by Joanna Trollope (2010)

As I said, I didn’t complete 2012 and 2013, so as the saying goes, I want to make the third time lucky! See Roof Beam Reader’s sign up for the challenge here.

Global Reading Challenge 2014

I read so much last year, and took part in 2 reading challenges, but failed as I didn’t review the books. I want to take part in some this year. Every year I do a mystery/suspense/thriller one, and in looking for one, I found this – Global Reading Challenge.

GRC2014

It is, what it is. You read a specific number of novels (1, 2 or 3) from each continent (with 7th continent either being Antarctica, or another setting – space, sea, future etc). How much fun does that sound? I mainly just read British and American authors, so this will spread my wings a bit I hope. From your own continent (Europe for me), you should chose a country, state or author which is new to you. I’m going to add my own challenge, and use new to me authors for each continent. The continents are:

Europe

North America

South America (Central can be included in either North or South)

Africa

Asia

Australasia/Oceania

Antarctica/other setting

I’ve chosen The Easy Challenge (because I want to do other challenges too, and really, I was to spend 2014 focusing on my writing, not reading!), which is just one from each.

I’ll complete reviews for each novel I read, and link them here, and on the Global Reading Challenge page, which can be found here.

Here’s Looking At You by Mhairi McFarlene Review

Anna Alessi – history expert, possessor of a lot of hair and an occasionally filthy mouth – seeks nice man for intelligent conversation and Mills & Boon moments.

Despite the oddballs that keep turning up on her dates, Anna couldn’t be happier. As a 30-something with a job she loves, life has turned out better than she dared dream. However, things weren’t always this way, and her years spent as the ‘Italian Galleon’ of an East London comprehensive are ones she’d rather forget.

So when James Fraser – the architect of Anna’s final humiliation at school – walks back into her life, her world is turned upside down. But James seems a changed man. Polite. Mature. Funny, even. People can change, right? So why does Anna feel like she’s a fool to trust him?

Image

 

Mhairi McFarlene’s debut novel, You Had Me At Hello, was one of my favourite books (if not my favourite) of 2013, so I was massively looking forward to reading this. It’s the only book I’ve read this year, but I already know it’s going to be up there on this year’s list too.

Anna had a hard time growing up, being fat and bullied at school. Regardless she decides to go to her school reunion 15 odd years later. No one recognises the beautiful, thin, Italian that walks in the room, not even her school crush James.  She leaves the reunion and hopes to put the whole thing behind her, until one day James walks into her life again, and she has to work closely with him on a project.

Cue them getting on well, but Anna still not telling him who she is, and not trusting him because of what he did when he was at school.

I loved this. I loved the story. I love McFarlane’s voice, the dialogue, the narrative. I loved the characters (except James’ ‘’best’’ friend Laurence). I loved everything about it. It’s so real, the story and characters could be someone you know, telling a real story. I just loved it. I’m gushing, but I can’t help it, I LOVED it.

If I have to wait another year for her next novel, I hope it goes fast! 

ROW80: Goals

It’s been a while since I took part in A Round of Words in 80 Days, but I think now is time to get back into it. 

In 2013 I did pretty much no writing. I had a couple of new (demanding) jobs, I ran a half marathon, and I had a life. I couldn’t (wouldn’t?) squeeze writing in too. I don’t want this year to be the same. At the end of November I went to a Romantic Novelists’ Association party. That evening I had to admit that I wasn’t writing, and hadn’t done any for ages, and it was horrible. That night I made the decision to turn it around. I printed of my novel The Man of My Dreams the next day. Unfortunately it sat in my bag for a while. 

This year, I’ve started reading it. I need to read it first to remember where I need to fill in bits, and finish things. I’ve started. Once I’ve filled in the blanks (and checked the story flows), I’ll start editing properly. I’m going to do it.

And ROW80 will give me a push to do it. 

I’m starting with baby steps, and when I hit them, I’ll increase. 

Goals (not just writing, but life goals):

– Spend some time at least three times a week, editing. I don’t want to be specific, I don’t want to set anything specific – baby steps. Just some time, three times a week. I was going to say once a week, but I’ve read 20 pages of the novel over the last 2 days, that I think I can confidently do it three times this week at least. I can carry on reading at this rate. 

– Exercise three times a week. If it’s walking, no less than for 20 minutes. 

– Fast 2 days a week (500 calories a day).

– Check in for ROW80 once a week, one book review blog once a week. 

I’m capable of more, but after a year of doing nothing, I want to start slow and steady. The great thing about ROW80 is you can change your goals as you go. I’ll be changing these in a week or so.