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It’s Friday Kids, But Not as We Know It!

I feel like I’m going to have some time to do some writing today. Ordinarily if this happened, I’d take part in Fiction Friday, but as I have this massive goal of finishing my novel by 31st October, I really think I should do that instead. Poo.

My excitement about Holiday at the weekend has carried on this week and I’ve been doing more on it.

On Tuesday, on the way home I thought about how a scene would work out. When I got in, I decided to write a few hundred words (500) before I got dinner. I got to 508 or something and knew I HAD to write more. So I gave myself another 15 minutes or so, and got another 500 words in (I think that’s right. I can’t work out if it’s actually possible to write that many in such a short time – it seems a crazy amount?).

I then made myself stop, or else I would have starved*, but once I’d turned the laptop off, I thought of something else, so made some notes on an envelope. Then I got into it and wrote another 100 words of actual story.

*As I’m a stone over weight, I seriously doubt I would have starved, but hey, I can tell myself that!

Yesterday (my next night in as I was out on Wednesday)  I got home early having had a hospital appointment which finished earlier than work. Yay! However at the appointment, they put some drops in my eyes that made EVERYTHING blurred. When I say blurred, distances just looked like I didn’t have my glasses on, but reading and looking at things close up, oh and being out in the SUN, really hurt and felt like it was going to give me a headache (the drops dilated my pupils so my irises were almost invisible).

I couldn’t write. But, I had this idea about a rewrite for one scene (I know I should wait until the first draft is finished, but I’m not going to be happy leaving it how it is, because the same thing is going to happen again. At the end actually. I found another envelope, and made some (very large) notes on that scene.

I feel like I’m getting somewhere.

Except, now I want to do some writing and I’ve left the envelopes at home. Which is probably a good thing, because, well you know, I’m at work and should really be working. Especially as I haven’t done much at all today.

Oh how things have changed from when I worked downstairs on reception. I think I had about 3 hours a day then to write/blog/trawl through the internet. I do get paid better now though, so that’s one thing. I probably do better writing now too. When I was writing on reception I was constantly interrupted by guests or the phone, so although I (sometimes) got a lot done, it didn’t feel it had the quality of the writing I’m doing now.

I wonder if that’s why I don’t seem to be able to edit Italian Infatuation. That was pretty much all written on reception so may be of a different standard of writing. I think I’m looking for excuses here.

Had a chat with my other half the other night (the first envelope night). He said I’m not a finisher. I tried to argue with him, but when I was thinking about it later, I hate to admit he’s probably right (and now I’m hoping this isn’t one of my blogs he reads – knowing my luck he will and I’ll get the ‘told you so’s all weekend!). I do start things, and I never seem to follow them through. Although, that’s not to say I’m not going to, just that I’ve be distracted by something else temporarily.

This weekend, I was cleaning up the flat, and trying to do about a million things at once – washing up, laundry, hanging clothes out, tidying the bedroom etc etc. I don’t know if I ever finished one because I kept doing a little of everything else too.

I’m the same with writing. I started a writing course, but didn’t get too far before I started writing Holiday. But then that didn’t get too far because I did NaNo. After NaNo though, I didn’t edit Italian Infatuation because I started writing Holiday again. Then it got to November and I HAD to do NaNo again, so The Dating Project was half written. Now that’s unfinished, Italian Infatuation is written but not edited, the writing course is maybe 4 modules in, and Holiday is maybe half way done.

Presently, I’m not a finisher, but I want to be. I want to edit Italian Infatuation. I totally think it’s got legs as a Mills & Boon book and I’ll like to sub it to them. I really really would like to. I also want to finish Holiday, think of a better title, and edit that too. Oh, and I totally want to finish the writing course. All this, and I want to do NaNo again in November.

I currently have a plan to finish Holiday before NaNo starts. In November, I’ll write a novel (or 50,000 words of one). I don’t know what about yet, and that is worrying me a little, but I’ll worry about it much more when Holiday is done and dusted.

In December, I need another plan.  I’m not going to decide what it is yet, but I’m going to make one. It’s going to include finishing one of these projects. All the way through. Next year, I’m going to submit a book. Or two. Wooh, that’s a plan. A plan I really like.

I think… I may have said that about Italian Infatuation this year. Ah. Well… Um… Yeah! Next year though. Definitely. It doesn’t matter how scary it is (I think it’s fear holding me back – what if I finish a novel and edit it? I’d have to submit it, and that’s mega scary!), I’m going to do it.

But this year. This year I’m going to finish draft one of Holiday. I’m so into this at the moment, I don’t think anything could stop me. I hope nothing will stop me anyway!

#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!

2011 Draft Goals

I feel like I need some goals for the year. I’ve not really had a chance to think about them though, so I thought I’d have a rambling blog thinking about it as I write.

Fiction Friday: This is something I really enjoyed doing most of last year. If you’ve not seen it before it’s over at Write Anything. Every week they give you a prompt and you write for at least five minutes from it. Last year, it was pretty much doing this every week that taught me how to write short stories. Honestly. Before I started ‘playing’ I couldn’t comprehend how to get a whole story in a few hundred/thousand words. My entries started as a snap shot of a much bigger story. After a while I found I was completing whole stories.

Fiction Friday used to make sure I wrote at least once a week. For half the year that was pretty much all I was writing, which is why I’m really keen to carry on with it this year. Although, I’d like to write a lot more than once a week this year.

Blogging: Last year I got so into blogging. I loved it. Then I got a new job where I couldn’t write during work time. Suddenly my blogging stopped. I miss it, but haven’t found a routine that gets it back in my life. I need to find that, whether it’s a couple of days a week during my lunch break, a couple of evenings a week which I dedicate to it, or a mix of both. Maybe even at weekends. I HAVE to get back into it. Hopefully if I do, it will be another thing to inspire me to write – I can’t write a writing blog if I’ve nothing to write about. Right?

Editing: I feel like this year should be the year I learn to love editing. Or if not love it, tolerate it. I think the only things I’ve ever edited are two stories I used for magazine submissions, and my writing course work. I’ve one finished novel that needs editing, and two half written that will, at some point, need editing.

Last year I had a plan to write a story each week (unedited) for Fiction Friday, then the following week, edit it and submit it to #FridayFlash (a Twitter thing where you post edited stories) on the Friday. I think that’s a good plan to get me into the editing frame of mind.

Writing Course: I had totally forgotten I was doing a writing course until Stephen King mentioned writing courses in On Writing. On the tube this morning I tried to remember how far I’ve got on it, but I can’t. At all. I need to work on this more this year. I’ve now been doing it for nearly 2 years, and I’m not even quarter of the way though. That is disgraceful. I HAVE to work on it this year!

Website: I happen to know someone who knows someone who creates websites for a living. And apparently would be quite happy to design a website for me. I like using WordPress, but I’m quite into the idea of having my own website – under my real name. There’s a way of linking WordPress to another website, so I’ll do that.

Get Published: Ok, so I’m cheating on this one, I am going to get something published on a website – a short story I wrote last year. It’s a first step, it’s quite  a new website, for chick lit short stories, but regardless of how new it is, I’m getting a story published. That’s cool. And a great start to the year. A great enough start that it’s going to push me to sub more stories.

Finish a novel or two: I’ve got two unfinished novels. Two unfinished novels that I want to do something with. I’ve been writing ‘Holiday’ for about two years (longer if you count the year or so it was floating round my head) and I started The Dating Project for NaNo last November. I can’t get to the end of next year and still have them unfinished. I feel this year is also the year I find a better name for ‘Holiday.’

Join a Writing Group: I’ve been wanting to do this since I started this blog and writing properly(nearly two years ago) but have always had a reason not to do it – fear, lack of time, working hours etc. THIS year I’m going to do it. No excuses or reasons not to.

Write another novel: I’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo twice now, and ‘won’ twice. That means I’m going to have to do it again. 50,000 words, 30 days, November. Bring it on.

Read some books: I’m doing a Mystery & Suspense Challenge 2011. The challenge is to read 12 Mystery or suspense books in the year. So that’s 12. I want to read much, much more than that though. Last year I read 45. That’s so much better than the 17 the year before!

So there we have it. My ideas of what I could have as goals for the year. I’m going to have a think through about them then make some definitive goals by the end of the week.

I do have a problem though. I always only feel like I can only have one project on the go i.e. only work on my writing course, or only write a novel, or only edit a novel (the last one being hypothetical as I’ve never actually done that). Which means I need to decide what to do and when. And focus on that. I guess this goes back to setting writing time for myself.

Right, I’ll be back soon(ish) with some goals. Eek!

Fiction Friday #190

Just a very quick piece here, I don’t even know if it really makes sense because it’s so short, but I started it at the beginning of the week and thought I’d get a chance to carry on and didn’t.

This is two of the teenage main characters from the novel I started during NaNo last year (it seems so weird saying last year when it was only a couple of months ago) Madison and Lucy. Only in The Dating Project it’s Lucy’s first person POV, but this for some reason went 3rd.

The prompt for yesterday was: Sometimes lies can have serious consequences. Describe a time when a lie had major consequences for your character. And this is what Lucy and Madison did with it:

‘It’s a shame because I think you two would have made a good couple.’

‘Us two?’ Madison almost shrieked. ‘Why us two?’

‘Wooh there Maddy, calm down. I know you don’t like him but I just felt there was something there between you.’

‘Bu… Wha..’

‘Why are you so surprised I think that? I asked you if you liked him for a reason.’

‘What reason?’ Madison grabbed Lucy’s arm.

‘Comeon. You Americans aren’t that thick. I asked you cause I thought, oh ok, I knew he liked you.’

‘BUt… Why didn’t you say anything?’ X looked at Madison puzzled.

‘I kind of thought I did. You told me you don’t like him.’

‘But I do!’ Madison shouted. A couple of people at the table behind them turned round and giggled. Madison ignored them. ‘Oh no. I can’t believe if I had have told you I like him, I could be going out with him instead of that bitch Jenna.’

Lucy threw her hands up in frustration. ‘So why did you say no?’

‘I didn’t realise HE liked ME. I thought it was just general chit chat and didn’t want you to know that I’m some loser that fancies people that don’t fancy me back.’

‘But he does. Or did.’

Madison put her head in her hands. ‘I know,’ she muffled through her fingers. ‘I know.’

I know it’s pretty short. And I know it’s not really MAJOR implications, but to Madison it is. Please, let me know what you think. Oh, and remember, I play by the Fiction Friday rules – this is unedited.

How December is Going

I’ve just done something kind of crazy. Good crazy though. Very unexpected crazy. But I’m glad crazy. Am I driving YOU crazy yet?

I’ve just written 250 words of The Dating Project! How good is that? It’s only the 8th too. That means I only left it for a week after NaNo before I wrote more – so much better than I thought I would do.

Not that I think this is it. This isn’t the start of me writing all the time away from NaNo or NovelPI, but it’s a start. And that makes me happy. The scene is also one where the MC is drunk, and I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine, so it probably worked pretty well, haha.

So, how’s December going for me then? Well, I’m reading. I’m about ¼ of the way into my second novel this month. It’s so nice letting myself read. During NaNo, I don’t let myself read, as that takes up time and that’s time where I should be writing. But now we’re over it, I’m well back on the reading train.

The first novel I read was Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger. Having read The Time Traveller’s Wife a few years ago, I have been eagerly awaiting reading this one, and on the whole it didn’t disappoint. I did really enjoy it. I loved some of the charachers, didn’t so much others, sympathised and stuff. In fact I’d say I really enjoyed it until the end, when  I was left slightly disappointed. SEMI SPOILER ALERT: I just felt like it was left wrong. Yeah Valentina was happy, but she shouldn’t have been where she was and Elsbeth, she shouldn’t have been where she was. I was just a bit disappointed it ended there. But then I also felt that about Sliding Doors (the movie) and I still loved it, so maybe the ending isn’t that important. I just almost feel a little cheated. It’s like it ended, but it shouldn’t have gone that way. Maybe if you’ve read it you feel the same? Let me know if you do – I’ve not read any reviews of spoken to anyone that has read it, so I have no idea if I’m all alone in this judgement, or people think the same.

I’m now reading Dying to Write by Judith Cutler. Judith Cutler, as far as I’m aware isn’t that big a name in writing, but she’s from around Birmingham (where I grew up) and she once visited my Mum’s writing group (back in the day when Mum was part of a writing group – guess where I got my passion for writing from?). Mum bought that book and Dying on Principle by her and got them signed by her – one to me and one to my brother. Now, I’m sure it was the luck of the draw who go t which one signed to who, but I can’t help feeling a little bitter that the one signed to him is Dying to Write, but I’m the writer. Not fair eh?

But I am (for the most part) over it. And the book, well it’s pretty good. I only picked it up originally because it’s a thriller (see the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge mention coming up?), and it’s got writing in the title. Perfect eh! But it’s really good. The main character, Sophie, is pretty cool and I feel like I can identify with her (especially her writer’s block!). But, this is the third Dying… novel in the series, and I really feel like I should have read the other two first. I think you don’t need to, but every now and then I feel like I’m missing out on something. But it’s good enough that I know I’ll be going back and reading the other two at some point. And definitely seeing if she’s written any more.

Totally, totally off the writing subject, but hey it’s my blog, I can go off subject if I want – especially if it’s to brag. I joined slimming world three weeks ago. The first week I lost 3 ½ lb. The next week 2lb. This week, I don’t think I’m going to have lost any because I’ve eaten like a pig today, but still – 5 1/5 lb in three weeks – how good is that!!!!!

Finally, please keep an eye out for more blogs and Tweets – very shortly I’ll be telling you about my FIRST PUBLISHED STORY!!!!

My Month of NaNoing

50,000 words done. Writing at home, the boyfriend’s and the office all done. Writing on the tube and in an airport are done. Writing in a holiday flat in Bournemouth is done. Writing at in cinema foyer, in theatres, on a bench on the South Bank of the river Thames, in a park and in a pub are all done.  NaNoWriMo for me, is done.

I’m currently at the last ever 2010 NaNoWriMo London write in. I should be writing my novel, but seeing as I’ve finished, I thought I’d write out a blog instead. Naughty.

I debated whether or not to come to the write in, after all, I’ve finished, I don’t need to write any more, so why should I? Then I thought about it a little more, and I realised I NEED to come along. The Dating Project currently sits at 50,011 words. That’s NaNo finished, but not the novel. I think the novel is going to need another 15-20 thousand to be finished. I’m here to write, because without the pressure of NaNo, I’m not sure of my motivation to carry on writing.

Look at last year, I finished the novel in 30 days, I did the right thing and left it alone for a month or six weeks, then read it. Then did nothing until September maybe when I edited ONE chapter for a competition. So… Does this novel have any better hopes?

I don’t know. A lot about it annoys me. I think maybe the characters are a little shallow. I’m not even sure if the main story line is good enough, especially as it didn’t get going until about 35k.

I was reading a novel on the tube journey over here. It made me worry about my novel. Well, my novel and my writing in general. There is just so much more detail. Even two characters sitting next to each other on the sofa takes a paragraph to describe. In my writing it would just be ‘X and Y sat next to each other on the sofa.’ I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing… Or do I? I don’t know.

I guess right now I need to concentrate on finishing it, not worrying about the editing. That will come later. I hope.

Ok, lets  move away from NaNo.

As I just said, I’ve started reading again. In November I didn’t let myself read. I thought that if I read something really good, I might get caught up in that and spend NaNoing time reading. I couldn’t let that happen, so I just didn’t pick up a book. Tube journeys were boring as hell. Last weekend I walked along South Bank (after NaNoRilla – Gurilla writing in London  – I may do a whole blog dedicated to this) and stumbled upon the second hand book market there. I say stumbled upon… I purposely walked past it. I told myself I’d only buy something if I saw something I was really interested in reading. And then I saw… Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. Woop! Second hand, but it looked as if I’d read it – no creases in the pages, or… on the spine. Double woop. And, only £4.

On the way home that night, I read the first chapter. I even nearly cried on the second page. And then I hid it from myself. And didn’t pick it back up until this morning, when I realised I was finally allowed to read on the tube again.

So far, guess what? I’m liking it. It’s intreging me and I want to read more. NOW. I don’t want to be doing a blog or writing more novel, I want to be reading. But I’m not going to.

Really what I need to focus on in December is the Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge. Uh… Yeah… I’m supposed to read 12 novels in the year from the genres Thriller or Suspense or anything like that. I did really well to start with, but then I kind of lost my way a little. Without checking (I’ve got no internet connection at the moment) I don’t know exactly how I’ve done so far, but I have a horrible feeling I’ve got about four books to read and six to review. Uh, oops. Still, December is a good month for reading. It had better be anyway!

Ok, I really should crack on with writing my novel. I can’t wait to have time to start blogging regularly again, I almost felt like something was missing not doing it much in November.

I also can’t wait for Fiction Friday on Friday. Yay.

Did you do Nano? If so how did you get on? If not, what did you do in November instead? I’m looking forward to reading through people’s blogs to find out… although it may take forever!!!

NaNoWriMo – Day 20

I cannot believe it’s 20th November. Where has the month gone? There’s only 10 left. Craziness. Total craziness.

So where am I with NaNo? Well, remember last time I blogged I was about 1.5k behind? Well as of right now, I’m 3698 word behind. And that’s after writing 1960 today. Oh dear. BUT, all is not lost. It’s only lunch time today. I’m planning on kicking out at least another thousand today. Easy. The tomorrow I’m going NaNoRilla-ing.

NaNoRilla-ing you ask? It’s a full afternoon of writing in different location in London. We’re starting off at the Southbank centre then somehow, making our way along Southbank, stopping to write in different locations along the way. Last year, they wrote on the steps to St Paul’s and on Blackfriars’ Bridge. I must say, I’m really hoping there’s not going to be too much outside writing tomorrow, it’s SOOOOOO cold at the moment. Even if it is, I really hope by the end of the weekend I will have caught up.

If I haven’t, I do have a lifeline though. I’ve got Monday and Tuesday off work (YAY). I’m going down to Bournemouth tomorrow until Tuesday evening, but it’s not a holiday, I’ll be helping my aunt with some stuff. But, I should get a lot of time to write too. Last time I was there, I was knocking out 1,000 words a day, and that was pre-NaNo, pre-NovelPI, so really really good because I was doing it off my own back. I’d like to aim for 3k a day. I don’t think that’s out of the realms of possibility.

My NaNo story The Dating Project is going pretty well. After this bit coming up, I don’t really know what’s going to happen to get it to the end. That’s a little problem, but I’m sure I’ll find something. I just hope it’s not going to be too boring with the days at school and in lessons I’ll probably have to do.

There is one thing I don’t really like about the story – my characters are always laughing. The MC Lucy and her best friend are always looking at each other and laughing, or giggling, or sniggering or something. I’m getting a little bored of it. I’m also a little worried it’s making them a little 1 dimensional. I’m sure it’s not, because they’ve both got a lot going on as well, but.. well it will be interesting to read it and find out.

That’s right, I have to read it to find out, because I’ve not read any of it. Every day I read the last paragraph I wrote the day before, too see where I am, but nothing else. It’s a little worrying. Today I had to go back to find out something written at the beginning of the chapter I wrote a few days ago, and had totally forgotten something pretty major. Oops. I’m looking forward to finding all the discrepancies throughout it.

Most of the characters have names now, so that’s good. The best friend’s boyfriend is still X and I’m not sure if the person whose party they are about to go to has one, but other than that we’re pretty sorted on that respect. Although maybe not in the next scene when they go to a party so will be chatting to lots of people. Will be interesting to see how I handle that one. Hmmmm.

I don’t have any non-NaNo news I’m afraid as that’s taking up all my free time (except for going out etc – the reason I’m so behind). I’m really missing reading on the tube, but don’t dare start a book in case I really enjoy it and it cuts into my writing time. Poo!

In December I’m going to have to concentrate on the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge. I think I’ve written reviews for about 6 books, and read maybe 9. Which means I really need to read 3 or so more, and review them along with the other 3 I’ve already read. There’s no way I’m not completing that!

As I know you like it so much (well I do), here’s my geeky NaNo chart.

Day Target (total) Day Words Total words Variance
1 1667 1854 1854 187
2 3334 3099 4953 1619
3 5000 1643 6596 1596
4 6667 2459 9055 2388
5 8334 1035 10090 1756
6 10000 1690 11780 1780
7 11667 1970 13750 2083
8 13334 2035 15785 2451
9 15000 1201 16986 1986
10 16667 345 17331 664
11 18334 2121 19452 1118
12 20000 781 20233 233
13 21667 0 20233 -1434
14 23334 410 20643 -2691
15 25000 1806 22449 -2551
16 26667 2227 24676 -1991
17 28334 0 24676 -3658
18 30000 2473 27149 -2851
19 31667 527 27676 -3991
20 33334 1960 29636 -3698

Next time I blog, I promise it will look more healthy! And because I got a little sick of my online graph being out of date (I keep forgetting to update it daily), he’s my geeky graph of my word count:

It’s not all that clear, but you get the point. I’m so upset the blue (actual words) started off so much higher than the read (target words), then it swapped. But, I’m going to get it back. I really am.