Tag Archive | NaNoWriMo

First Blog For A While

Well this is embarrassing. My last blog post was 2014. That’s not so bad in itself – the end of the year was only 9 days ago.

If only my last post was at the end of the year.

It wasn’t.

It could be worse. My last post could have been a year ago. That would have been terrible. Shocking. Awful. So it’s not as bad as it could be. It’s not great though.

1st March 2014. *runs and hides under a cushion*

Yeah, it’s really not good.

I don’t really have any good excuses either. I’ve been busy is a good one, but busy with my day job, not anything fun – or writing (ha).

That’s a bit of a lie, there was some time in 2014 where I took positive steps towards my writing career (career?). In June I did the first edit of about 80% of The Man of My Dreams. I sent it to Romantic Novelists’ Association – I’m on the New Writer’s Scheme, where you can send a novel in and a published author will read and give their comments. Last year was my second year as a RNA – NWS member, the previous year I hadn’t sent anything in, so I was determined to in 2014. And I did. 60,000 words I think I sent, and I got some very positive comments. Positive both in that she liked it, and positive in good critique of things I should change. Some of them I knew myself, so gave me a bit of extra confidence.

I also took part in NaNoWriMo for the 5th year. I’d won the other 4 years, but took a year off in 2013, because I didn’t have the time. In 2014 I didn’t have the time, but I really wanted to do it. I MISSED doing it in 2013 (I know, I’m nuts right?). I thought up a story idea, that I really like, created a ‘holding’ title (it was horrific), and on 1st November I started.

Actually, I was on holiday on 1st Nov in Brussels, so I started on 2nd Nov – already a day behind. And it carried on like this. There were a couple of days where I hit (exceeded) the goal of 1,667 words, but they were few and far between. Work was busy, my social life was busy – holidays, weddings, birthdays. It was too much. On about 26th I decided I wasn’t going to finish it. I’d done 26,000 words.

I’m very disappointed, but I’m fine with it. I COULD have done it, but it would have meant writing about 7k a day, which I’ve done in the past, but I NEEDED down time. I needed some ‘Helen time,’ where I just relaxed in front of the TV, or with a book and, just well, relaxed.

And… um… yeah… That’s all I really did last year.

Except for reading. Don’t they say to be a writer you have to read. Well I read quite a bit. I have no idea how much because I didn’t keep my normal record of the novels, but I’ll try to catch that up.

This year, I’m going to do better.

I want to set some goals, but I don’t know what they are, so they’ll come in another blog. Soon. Not in 10 months! I promise!

5 Year Blogiversary

When I posted my blog yesterday, I noticed a notification telling me that 5 days ago, my blog was 5 years old. WOW! 5 years. 5. Five. FIVE.

I can’t believe it. It feels like a lifetime ago, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like 5 years ago.

I remember starting it. I’d been made redundant from my job, and could only get a job with much lower pay, and responsibility. I’d do my hours at work and leave (on time) and not worry about anything until I got there the next day.

I decided I’d do something productive with my time, and start a correspondence writing course with The Writer’s Bureau. My boyfriend suggested I start a blog to track my progress. This was back before I knew much about blogging, twitter, or anything much online. I thought it was a geeky thing to do, not something someone like me would do. Besides, who would read it, who would be interested in what I write? More to the point, what would I write?

I decided to go for it, because, you know, it was a good idea to track my progress.

And I loved it. Almost immediately I loved it. It was like writing a diary again – something I did when I was at school, but hadn’t really since leaving university (I’m not even sure I did at uni, I do remember writing one when I had my year out in America though).

I loved just writing about what was going on. I loved that people read my blog. I loved that people commented on my blog. I loved finding other blogs,  by other people, who were like me – writers. Other than my mum, I’d never met anyone else that shares that passion. I loved getting involved in the writing community on blogs and Twitter. I loved everything about it. I made friends, discovered NaNo, and wrote – I wrote novels and short stories and random bits here and there. I even published writing on my blog (mostly unedited as part of Fiction Friday, which I was addicted to).

5 years later, I don’t have that passion for blogging, and for writing anymore, life (my job!) has got in the way, but I want them back. I love blogging, and writing, and hopefully I’m going to love editing. I remember what they’re like and I want to be that person again. My job is stressful, and takes up way more than the 35 hours a week that it should – it tires me out and I get back from work and just want to crash in front of the TV, but, I also want to be the blogger/writer that I was – no that I can be. I can be more than I was. I can do this editing thing and send my novel to agents etc. I can blog regularly. I can, and I will.

Looking Back At 2012

I actually can’t believe it’s 2013. Where did 2012 go?

I’ve just been discussing how 2012 went from a writing point of view. I have to admit, not well. Every year after NaNo it takes me MONTHS to get back into writing – I’m talking until the summer. In 2012, I never really got back into it, until NaNo hit again in November.

I can make lots of excuses up (I started a new job that was a lot more work, and I actually cared about and had responsibility in February), but really I just don’t know the reason. I still want to write, but it’s just something missing between the want and the actual doing. I’ve tried loads of things to get me out of the funk, and loads have worked, but only short term.

Maybe I’m being a little hard on myself here (but maybe I need it?). I think I wrote 80,000 words in 2012. 50,000 in NaNo (yep, I won again – 4th year in a row!), and 30,000 on The Man of My Dreams. That’s not actually all that bad. Obviously though, it could be better.

I’ve nearly finished TMOMD, I’ve got a couple of scenes to finish and add, but I think my next step is printing and editing and I’ll add those scenes in as I go. I’m not 100% sure I took the story down the right route, so I may have to rewrite about 20,000 of those. Depressing, but it may be necessary. Maybe that’s why I’m taking so long to get on with it.

In 2012 I read 34 books. You know what’s funny? In 2011, I also read 34 books. Without planning to read the same number each year. (I’m wrong, I’ve actually read 35 this year. Not so weird). I’ve read some really good books. I’d like to talk about them more though, so I’ll so a separate blog sometime on them!

I took part in 3 reading challenges – Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge (12 Mystery/Suspense novels), the Chick Lit Challenge (12 Chick lit novels – 2 debut novels in 2012) and the TBR Pile Challenge. I read all the books I needed to for the Mystery and Chick Lit ones, but didn’t get all the reviews done – in fact I need to write 10 to complete them. I’m going with I finished though. Yay. For the TBR Challenge, I only read 10 novels. Gutted. I should have succeeded on this. One I realised I was never going to read – The Lollipop Shoes (as it’s a sequel and I’ve not read the first), but I have no excuse on the others.

I have however been part of a book group. We’ve read 8 (I think) books this year. I’ve really enjoyed that, and am looking forward to next year. Once we decide the next novel.

2012 was a good year. Here’s to 2013 being even better!

NaNoWriMo – The Last Week

Today’s November 25th. The 25th day of NaNoWriMo. I’m still behind, but getting better. There’s five days left, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.

That’s cause I’ve written 8,442 this weekend – 5,198 yesterday and 3,244 today so far. I’m so happy with that. It means right now, I’m 5,805 behind. It’s not great, but it’s better than the 10,000 I was behind on Friday. In fact, I’ve been way more than this behind for most of the month. It was 9th that I was behind less than today. So yeah, today’s good.

This is my chart:

I’ve formated it so that good totals are green, bad red. It’s not good overall is it. Still I like the last two days of writing.

I really want that the first and last numbers to be green on just one line, one day. I’d like it to not be Friday, the last day. It’s possible. I’m confident. This week’s goal is to finish NaNoWriMo, and ‘win’ (reach 50,000) by Friday at the latest.

I really want to lose some weight before Christmas too, so am going to try to exercise as much as possible, and eat as little as possible. It’s not going to be that easy when I’ve got at least one, maybe three dinners out.

Changing the subject, a few weeks ago, I started posting my writing. It was y boyfriend’s idea to get me used to getting it out there, so when I start submitting work, it won’t feel like such a massive step, and also so I get used to my work being commented on. I took a week or so off doing it, but want get back into the habit. With NaNo going on, I don’t have time to edit anything, so I’m posting below some of the words I’ve written for my NaNo novel, Love Authority, this weekend. It’s not edited. I’ve not done a spell check, so please ignore all that. But, please, let me know what you think, good or bad, that’s what this is for:

            As we drove out of the estate, I told Jason about the email from the person telling me I was doing the wrong thing trying to investigate Amy’s disappearance.

            ‘You know they’re right, don’t you,’ he said.

I looked at him in amazement. ‘If they’re so right, what are you doing here? Surely what you’re doing is worse than me. You’re looking for information to write a story, to publish. If that’s not wrong, I don’t know what is.’ To amaze me again in less than a minute, Jason raised his head back and laughed.

            ‘I’m not saying what I’m doing is the right thing to do, I’m just warning you. This is my job, so I know the risks I’m taking, but I’m not sure you do.’

            ‘What do you mean?’ I had an idea of what he was getting at, but not really. He looked over at me.

            ‘How much do you tell your husband?’

            ‘I already told you, I’ve not told him anything about this search, or you.’

            ‘Good I think it should stay that way.’

He said it innocently enough, but suddenly I realised what I was doing. I was in a car with someone I’d met once before, who told me he was a journalist, but I had no idea, no one knew where I was, he could just abduct me and no one would even know where to look. They’d assume it happened on the way to work. They’d never in a million years think to look in this area of town.

            The police would probably assume I’d disappeared like my sister and do nothing about it. Just like with her. I’d like to think David would do more, but I couldn’t’ guarantee it.

            ‘I’ve got a theory, but it’s just a theory, and I might be wrong. If I’m right I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do about it, but if I’m wrong, and it gets out that I’ve thought that, or been researching into it, I could disappear myself. Heck, I could disappear if I’m right.’

            I was starting to get worried. He sounded like a bit of a madman ranting on like that. I looked out on the street, and decided whatever was going to happen in the car, it was safer that outside the car in this neighbourhood.

            ‘You have to swear not to tell anyone.’

            ‘Yesh, sure.’ I could say it, but if it was too weird I didn’t have to stick to it.

            Jason reached over and touched my hand. I could feel the heat of the touch travel up my body and down to certain parts. I couldn’t believe the reaction my body had, when my mind was starting to get terrified of him.

            ‘I really mean it Claire.’


            ‘Ok.’ He removed his hand, which I have to admit upset me.  I had to get a grip, I was a married woman.

            ‘Ok,’ he said again. I looked over and realised he looked nervous. ‘Ok.’ This time it was my turn to put my hand on his arm. Again the touch of our skins send heat to my sensitive place.

            ‘Jason, you can trust me.’ He swallowed, looking ahead.

            ‘Ok. So, I’ve done some research, and I think it might be the police getting rid of people.’

            I could not have been more surprised if an alien landed in front of us.

            ‘WHAT? NO way. Why would you think that?’

            ‘Come on, don’t you think it makes a bit of sense, all these people keep disappearing, most of them from rough neighbourhoods like this. Overcrowded neighbourhoods like this. I think they’re getting rid of people to reduce the numbers in areas like this.’

            ‘And Amy?’

            ‘She wasn’t in such a great area herself was she?’

            ‘Well, no, but…’ I couldn’t believe he was thinking this. Whatever I thought might have come out of his mouth, that was the last thing I imagined. In fact, I never would have imagined.

            ‘You have to admit it makes sense, who else has the resources available to be able to make someone completely disappear in a few hours. You said Shannon left home with Amy at 8am or something, then 12 hours later, when the police went round, everything was gone. Less than 2 hours later someone else was moving in. If they hadn’t known the place was going to be empty until you called them, how could they get someone moving in so quickly?’

            ‘There’s always people waiting for housing, I imagine it could take 10 minutes.’

            ‘With all the paperwork? You’re kidding. Things like that take days. At a squeeze possibly hours, but at the least. Especially after 6pm. You know nothing happens after 6pm’

            I thought about it. It had seemed a little sudden to me, but I hadn’t thought about it too much, I’d been too focused on Amy’s disappearance to worry too much about what was left behind (except Shannon).

            I couldn’t believe I was even entertaining this idea, it was utter madness. The police were there to protect us, not to do away with us.

            ‘Just think about it ok?’ he pleaded. I nodded. I would.


            As you can imagine, I thought about northing else that day or the next. I’d swing from major extremes of thinking he was an absolute nutter, and I was going to have nothing else to do with him, to thinking he might actually be on to something.

            He called me when I was at work on Tuesday, so on my way to the bus stop when I finished, I called him back.

            ‘Hi Claire,’ he said sing songly.

            ‘Hi Jason.’

            ‘I’m not going to ask if you’ve thought about what I said, I’m going to leave that one to you, and if you want we can ignore that I said anything until we find out one way or another.

            ‘I was just calling to see if you’ve heard anything from anyone else you emailed? And I’ve got an idea.’

            I ignored the first question. ‘What’s your idea?’

            ‘Well, we were saying the other day that the people that have disappeared have come from rough areas, right?’ he didn’t give me a chance to agree. ‘I was thinking that’s what we believe, but we’ve not looked into it have we. I mean, you found posters in Amy’s area, and I found out through a friend of a friend of a friend. Neither of us have been to nicer areas to check for posters, or anything indicating people going missing.’

NaNoWriMo – Day 11

I can’t believe we’re a third though November, and NaNo already. Where does the time go?

As you may remember from previous posts, I’ve not been doing too well. I’ve been behind since the beginning. I’ve had a couple of days this week where I’ve written more than the obligatory 1,667 words (2063 on Sunday, 1771 on Monday and 1828 on Tuesday), so I’m happy with them, but then the end of the week, and the weekend have been bad. Last week I said I wanted to catch up b today. Oops.

I had a friend’s hen party this weekend. I got the train up to the town we were meeting in on Friday (which happens to be where I’m from and where my parents live). The journey was a couple of hours, and I got 1,126 words written, by hand, during the journey. The rest of the weekend was spent on hen stuff.

The train home today had a socket by my seat (I got a dirt cheap first class ticket!) so I got some computer written words done. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling too well (hen party hangover), an the train was quite bumpy, so it was only 273. Still, that’s 273 more than I had.

I also managed to do some more plotting, which I’m really happy with. I don’t know what my next scene will be, but I’ve had a couple more ideas for later in the novel. Really happy with this. My major problem is that I don’t have names for some of the characters – including the main two characters. It’s from one of their POVs, so less important, but her name is still used by other people. The other MC hasn’t come in yet, but will be soon, so I need to find that, and soon. In fact, maybe I’ll look for a name tonight. Or maybe I’ll write the other half of my 1,667 words for today. Oh dear, just seen the time. I really need an early night today, so maybe I’ll do it all tomorrow!


As I did last week, I’m going to post some writing. I liked the idea of posting what I’d written that day, so here is what I wrote today (again, please ignore the bad spelling, punctuation etc, in true NaNo style, I’ve not edited – that’s what December’s for, right!):


‘I just don’t understand why you’re not believing them and making this harder than you have to. Yes, it’s terrible she’s gone, but I’m sure she had her reasons. Denial about it isn’t going to bring her back. The police have records saying she was arrested for prostitution, things like that don’t just appear. They’re in the system. I’m sorry honey, but it’s all true. The sooner you accept that the better.’

I stopped chopping the vegetables, put down my knife and turned to him. He was leaning on the kitchen table.

‘How can you believe it? You’re a sensible man, and Amy is a sensible woman, she wouldn’t leave Shannon, and she wouldn’t go without telling me.’ I walked past him to get the meat out the fridge.

‘But she has.’

‘No. I’m sorry David, but I don’t believe that. I can’t and I won’t. She’s my sister for gods sake. I’m going to do what I can to find her. I’m going to look under every stone, upturn anything until I find her and find out what’s happened to her.’

I turned away from him to walk back to my chopping board, but David grabbed my free arm.

‘What are you going to do?’ he asked. He had a strange look on his face, I wasn’t sure what it was, but it was unpleasant. I had never been scared of him before, and wasn’t then, but I was close to it. ‘Don’t do anything that-’

‘That what David?’ I almost spat at him. Then I realised what he was thinking. ‘Oh, I get it: don’t do anything that will embarrass you. That’s what you mean isn’t it? My sister’s missing and all you care about is your career.’ I tried to shake his hand off my arm, but he was gripping too tightly. That fear I wasn’t feeling was getting closer.

‘NO,’ he shouted in retaliation to my rising voice. ‘We know what happened, so I don’t want you digging into things that don’t need digging into. The police have told you the truth. Just leave it at that. I do not want or need, and neither do you, your name in the papers dragging stuff up and making both yourself and me look stupid.

‘Just get a grip, and believe what the police are telling you. They’re the police. Jeez X.’ He let go of my arm, almost flinging it towards my body, and stormed out the room. I stumbled, probably more in shock than anything else, but kept my balance. A few seconds later I heard the front door slam.

I looked at my arm, there were red marks where his fingers had dug into me. I couldn’t believe that just happened. David and I rowed sometimes, but he’d never laid a finger on me in anger. He just wasn’t like that.

Obviously it showed how much his job meant to him. More than my sister. Some marriage we had.

I turned round to carry on making some food when I heard Shannon behind me at the door. Shit, I’d forgotten she was in the house while we were arguing, but we hadn’t been too loud so I didn’t really think about it.

‘Hey Shannon, are you nearly ready for dinner? It will be ready in a minute.’ I turned back to the dinner, but she didn’t answer me. I looked back at her and realised she looked quite so white.

‘Shannon, are you ok.’ She didn’t say anything, so I walked over to where she was and crouched down. I touched her forehead, she seemed ok. ‘Are you not feeling well.’ She shook her head. ‘What’s wrong.’

‘Are you and Uncle David arguing?’ For a second I was taken aback. We really hadn’t been that loud, yes he’d shouted at me, but the lounge was the other side of the house.

‘Come here.’ I sat on a chair in the kitchen, and pulled her onto my lap. I stroked her hair. ‘Sometimes couples argue, it’s just an adult thing. But we’re ok. Did you hear us?’ She nodded. ‘I’m sorry Shannon. But we’re ok.’

‘Is Uncle David going to hit you? Are we going to leave him?’ She burst into tears. Of course, Amy and her father used to argue like hell, then he hit Amy. A few times apparently Shannon had seen.

‘No Shannon. No. We’re fine.’ I tried to push the memory of David’s hand on my arm, and the red marks he left from my mind. ‘David is not your father. He’s a good man. He wouldn’t hit me, and we’re definitely not going to split up.’ I squeezed her tightly, but she didn’t stop crying. I could have murdered David for starting this, and making her more upset. I knew though, that if he’d known she’d been listening, he wouldn’t have done anything. He really loved her, and wouldn’t do anything to hurt her.

That was one positive thing.

‘Look Shannon, your father was a bad man. When your Mummy found out she left him. Unfortunately she had to do things before she could leave him, which is why you sometimes saw things. David is a good man, he’s not going to do anything wrong. He’s not going to hit me. I promise. Do you believe me?’

She pulled away and looked at me earnestly, with tears falling down her face. It broke my heart to see her that upset about something I’d done, that we could have avoided. After everything she’d been through over the last week or so, we should be protecting her, not making her feel on edge again.

She nodded. Phew. I wiped away the tear marks from her face. Another tear fell from her right eye.

‘I miss Mummy.’ I pulled her back to my body and rocked her back and forth while she burst into another round of tears.

‘Me too Shannon, me too.’ I knew I had to find Amy, or at least find out what happened, not just for her, or me, but for her little girl.


NaNoWriMo – The First Week

Well that’s gone quickly hasn’t it – the first six days are done, tomorrow (Wednesday – I’m writing my check-in a day early). So far, tt’s not going to plan.

The plan is 1,667 words a day – the NaNo goal. In actual fact, I’ve achieved:

  Day Word Goal Total Written Written Per Day
Thursday 1 1667 708 708
Friday 2 3334 868 160
Saturday 3 5000 1183 315
Sunday 4 6667 3246 2063
Monday  5 8334 5017 1771
Tuesday 6 10000 6843 1826

So, really, I’m getting better. Better than the first few days anyway. The last three days I’ve consistently got over 1,667, so that’s a really good direction to be going in.

Not sure how I’m going to do tomorrow, as I’ve got a course all day, then I’m meeting a friend, (my ROW80 buddy Laura) before going to a contemporary fiction networking event – Jojo Moyes, Cecelia Ahern and Harriet Evans are going to be there. EXCITED. It’s only on until 8.30, but I imagine I won’t get anything done when I get home.

Laura and I are meeting in a bookshop, probably in the cafe, a couple of hours before the event, so maybe, hopefully, I’ll get some writing done in that time.

My goal for the rest of the week is to catch up. I’m slowly clawing my way back, but as of right now, I’m still 3,157 behind, meaning if I was to catch up tomorrow, I’d need to write 1,667 plus 3,167, so = 4,834. Ah. I’m not catching up tomorrow. But by Sunday night, I will be at 18,334.

18,334, that seems like an awful lot!

I’m going to a hen party on Friday. That means I’ve got the hour journey ‘home’ to write (where we’re meeting), then on Sunday the two-hour journey back from Liverpool (where we’re going Saturday). Not sure how productive the one on Sunday will be (but I did get a first class upgrade for £2.50 – result!), or how much I’ll get done on Saturday (we’re driving up to Liverpool). That probably means I should get ahead before then. When? Oh I don’t know. Still, I must have caught up by Sunday.

All my other goals are out the window. Well, I didn’t make any other goals this week (other than blogging, and this is one of the two). The last couple of days I have not been able to stop eating. It’s terrible. I imagine it’s the cold. And writing. I always seem to eat more when I’m writing, because I need more breaks, and procrastination.

I went to my first write-in for NaNo this year tonight. It was really good. Yumchaa Tea is my favourite NaNo location from the last two years. It’s this quirky little tea shop in central london, with odd tables, chairs and sofas, and weird plates and cups and stuff. We take over the whole of the basement. It’s awesome.

Tonight I didn’t feel like writing. My story wasn’t calling to me. I was twittering a lot in the first 45 minute writing session. I went to talk to a couple of people in the chat break, mainly to complain I wasn’t feeling it. We talked about my novel, and they gave me some ideas, but I knew I couldn’t go with any of them. That made me realise I was further along than I thought, because I knew for sure their ideas wouldn’t work. One of the girls then challenged me to write over 1,00o in the second 45 minute write session.

Well, you know me and a challenge.

I managed it, and more, and got some thinking about the plot done. In fact, I got 1,100+ the second half. They did a count up of who did the most. There were only 4 of us that wrote more than 1,000 (I think there were 30 people there), so we got stickers. Only I got a sticker at the kick-off party, so I got a mini box of Frosties instead. What an awesome encouragement!

So now I’m feeling more hopeful about the novel. That is possibly because I’ve realised I need my ‘storyboard.’ For me, my storyboard is a wall covered in post-it notes detailing the main events in the novel. I’ve found before, if I have these to work to I do ok, if I don’t (one year I had a loose plan and nothing else) I go off topic and make things longer than should be and it all gets into a mess.

So a wall of post-its it is.

Hope the boyfriend doesn’t mind!

NaNoWriMo 2012 – The First Few Days; Love Authority – The First 1,000 Words

I’m killing two goals with one stone tonight: my update on NaNo/ROW80, and my first 1,000 words of the novel. Yep, I’m going live with the first 1,000 words of the novel, brave or what.

I saw on Twitter on day one, that people were posting their first lines. It made me realise the first line had to be good – real good (OK, I knew that already, it reminded me!), but not just the first line, sentence, paragraph, the whole of the beginning.

Maybe that’s why the writing isn’t coming easily to me. When I say not easily, by the end of today, I should be rocking 6,667 words. I’m currently on 1,500. Ouch!

I’m not feeling it this year. Steve and I were discussing it last night, which gave me an idea of why.

This isn’t romance, or chick lit. This year it’s going to be a mystery/thriller. I’ve never been sure if I can write that. I think you need to be really clever, and think up great twists, and have a great plan. I don’t really yet, and I’m not sure I can think up enough. Of course everyone I say that to tells me I’m being stupid, of course I can. Maybe I just need the confidence to.

Because I don’t have the confidence in myself right now, I think this novel is going to be a mess. But, as Steve pointed out, it’s not meant to be a finished product on 30th November. Other than needing tens of thousands of words added, it’s also going to need editing, where all the problems can be fixed, and I can make it a decent novel. All I need to do in November is get to the 50,000 line.

But I’m a perfectionist. I don’t want to start something knowing it’s probably not going to be any good. I want it to be good from the off.

This from a girl who NEVER edits as she goes. Can you believe it?

So, I’m behind. Massively. And I’ve got a massively busy week this week, I’m out all nights but one. Eeek! Steve’s challenged me to catch up by Sunday next week. So that’s my goal this week – get to 18,334 by Sunday night.

Jeez. Saying it like that sounds crazy. I’m not going to work out how many words a day that is, cause I’m pretty sure it will scare the hell out of me. I’m just going to aim for OVER 1,667 per day. Including today. Although I’ve only given myself another 45 minutes to get there (convinced I need an early night to get through this week). I’m going to write at lunch, when I get home before dinner, and after dinner. Oh, I’m going out a lot. Well, still.

I’m going to pretty much ignore all other goals except blogging. I need to get at least one ROW80/NaNo check in this week, and post some writing – probably from the novel again. So minimum of two blogs. One really, I can merge them like this one. I’d like two though.

So that’s it. Easy goals. Just under 17,000 words. And 1-2 blogs. Easy, right??

And now, to Love Authority.

I’m going on the old Fiction Friday rules, and NaNo necessity, of not editing as I go, and posting without editing! Eeek! This is the prologue and beginning of the first chapter of my 2012 NaNo novel Love Authority.

Prologue: Four days ago.

             ‘I give up,’ Amy said putting her wine down on the table and sinking into the chair opposite me, ‘He’s not coming.’

            I look up from my cheese sandwich, an extravagance which I thought David might kill me for, but I was so hungry because of staying late at work I hadn’t been able to go home. I just hoped David wouldn’t make me ask Amy for the money back for it.

            ‘Aw, Ames, I’m so sorry. Here, you want half of this?’ She shook her head, then laid it down on the table on her arms.

            ‘Why can’t I just find someone nice?’ she said, muffled through her arms. ‘Why does this always happen to me?’

            ‘You’ve been stood up before?’

            She lifted her head to give me an evil eye. ‘No, you know what I mean. I can’t find anyone nice. It just sucks.’

            I reached over and stroked her arm. ‘Least you’ve got Shannon.’ At the mention of her daughter’s name, Amy’s face lit up, a little.

            ‘Yes, I’ve got Shannon.’ I couldn’t help being jealous. Yes, I had the husband, which was fantastic (can you hear the sarcasm?), but to have a child? That would be magical. More than magical. It was everything I’d ever dreamed about. But, I coudlnt’ think like that. I didn’t want to get dragged down by the bad feelings that resurrect when I think of what could have been.

            ‘There will be someone out there, I promise.’

            ‘Do you? That’s bold. I need to face facts, no one wants a divorcee. God, I can’t blame them, I wouldn’t want to meet someone that had chosen to get a divorce. No, I’m destined to sit on the shelf.’

            Secretly I thought she was so brave getting divorced. Of course for her, the beatings were the motivation, I don’t have that, just a plain old boring marriage to a boring man. So not worth a divorce. I’d just have to grin and bare it, and hope he died before I did so I’d have some time alone.

            At least he didn’t beat me up. That’s a good thing.

Chapter One: Two days ago.

            My phone buzzed with excitement as I got out the tube, my heart sank. Please, not work. I’d only left an hour ago, but that didn’t mean someone couldn’t have called in sick in that time. It had happened too many times.

            I debated ignoring it, but I knew the extra money would be good, so I gave in. I was shocked when Shannon’s school number was my missed. My 7 missed

            That couldn’t be good.

            Before I listed to the voicemail, I rang them back. 7 Calles meant something was wrong, I may not have time to list to my message.

             ‘Hello? I was always quite intimidated by the teachers at the school. It wasn’t posh or anything, but they were teachers, so incredibly far from us it didn’t feel too different to speaking to the king or queen. Amy always said I was being silly, and they were fine (moost of them anyway), but I couldn’t’ shake the feeling.

            ‘Uh, hello. It’s X X, Shannon X’s Aunt. I’ve had some…’

            ‘X, good. We’ve got Shannon here. Her Mum didn’t turn up. Can you collect her?’

            ‘She didn’t’ collect Shannon? I asked pointlessly. I was shocked, Amy never let Shannon down, never forgot her, nothing. Ever. ‘Have you tried calling her?’

            The teacher cleared her throat down the phone, obviously to make a point. ‘Many times,’ she said. X, we have to have Shannon collected soon. We have homes to go to ourselves.’

            I looked at my watch to calculate the time it would take by bus or tube to get across town. Too long. I ground my teeth.

            ‘Certainly. I can be there in 15 minutes.’ There was an intake of breath down the phone, obviously she wanted me there quicker. ‘I’m sorry, that’s the soonest I can get there.’ I hung up the phone and looked round for a taxi, praying I’d get that phone call tomorrow offering another shift to make up the taxi money. At this rate David would divorce me and I’d be left out on the streets.


            ‘Aunty X!’ The second Shannon saw me she came running into my arms. I lifted and spun her round, trying to ignore the looks of disgust from the teacher behind her. ‘Is Mummy ok?’ Shannon whispered as I set her back down. I looked at the teacher and waved.

            ‘Thank you. Sorry.’ Then I grabbed Shannon’s hand and ran as fast I as I knew her little legs would take her.

            ‘Where’s Mummy?’ Shannon asked when the door closed behind us. I bent down to her level.

            ‘I don’t know Shannon.’ I’d tried calling her multiple times on my way over. It was ringing and ringing, not even her voicemail was picking up. I had no idea why not, or where she was, or why she wasn’t answering it. I’m really worried, but I can’t let Shannon know that. 

            ‘I’m sure she’s fine, you know sometimes she’s a bit scatty.’ She wasn’t, but I doubted Shannon would argue. ‘So how about you come over to ours for dinner?’ She nodded, not looking too worried. That was one of us.


            By the time we get home, I’ve still not heard back from Amy. I’d tried her a couple of times, telling Shannon I was calling David to tell him I was bringing her home with me. I’d sent him a text. He still hasn’t replied. I hope it means he’s working late.

            That isn’t really my worry though, Amy is. Amy and Shannon. The longer I don’t hear back from Amy, the more worried I get. Luckily, Shannon seems ok. I guess because I was ok to pick her up, and sometimes I do, she doesn’t feel that worried. As long as we’ve heard from her by bedtime.

            ‘What do you want for dinner?’ I asked Shannon as we sat her in front of the TV. Only when I asked the question, I realised we probably didn’t have much in. It was Friday, I was due to go shopping tomorrow.

            ‘Can I –‘

            ‘How about I surprise you?’ I cut in. I didn’t want to disappoint her with not having what she wanted. She looked surprised, but nodded. She really was a good kid.

            Before I went to make dinner, or find something to make for dinner, I remembered she’d left a toy dog at ours last time she was there. I went to find it.

            ‘Hey Shannon, look what I’ve found.’ She didn’t turn round, but lifted her hand to her face, I realised she was wiping tears. I rushed over, pulling her into a tight hug. ‘What’s wrong girly?’

            ‘Where’s Mummy? I want my Mummy.’ I sat down, and pulled her on to my lap so I could rock her back and forth.

            ‘I know baby. I know.’ What else could I say? I didn’t know where she was, or when she’d be back. A small part of me was wondering if she’d even be back.

I’d love to hear what you think, just please, ignore the typos, grammar, and lack of editing. Words are more important today than editing 😉

NaNoWriMo 2012 – T Minus 1 Day

It’s NOVEMBER tomorrow. How did that happen? Seriously, we’ve had 10 months this year! 10. I can’t believe it. And now it’s NaNo again. AGAIN. So I have to start (choose to) writing another novel tomorrow. Um, eek!

That paragraph got me thinking about this year. It’s been pretty good. I got promoted in February back to a job where I have responsibility, feel like I’m making a difference, and one that has manager in the title. Since leaving the hotel, it took me 4 1/2 years to get that Manager title back. That was 3 1/2 years of floating about, not really knowing what I wanted to do, and 1 getting the experience in Facilities Management to get the job. It’s been a long road, but it’s been fun, and I’ve met some great people, and now I’m in a good place.

This week is my 4th week in another position. Another promotion, although only tiny this time – my title is the same, but I’ve got my own building, rather than assisting someone for part of the week, and having my own the rest of the week. Woop! It’s going… well… OK. It’s not going to rock my world, but I’m going to get some great training, and some great experience. I hope. The site is really quiet, so, I’m going to be able to do some writing while I’m there, daily. Woop! I just need to get over this mental hurdle I’ve got that’s saying it’s going to be a rubbish site! It’s not, it’s going to be good for my career, and for my writing! What more can I ask for?

Lets move on and look at my goals, and how I’m doing with them:

Writing*: 100 words or NaNo plotting 5 days. On Monday I did quite a bit of plotting. I still don’t know what’s going to happen in the second half to make it to the end, which is worrying me, but I’m hoping I’ll get there. Part of me thinks that I’m just not clever enough to think up some good thriller/mystery plot points. Part of me wants to hit that other part of me for thinking that though. We’ll see. I guess a good thing on this is if I know what’s going to happen in the first half, that will probably be 40,000 words, so I’ll only need to worry about another 10,000 to get through NaNo. Of course, really, I don’t want to be thinking like that. I want to finish this novel, not stop at 50,001 on 31st October.

I was saying I did plotting on Monday. On Tuesday, I realised I should do some writing, so when I got in and was tidying up, I started thinking what I could write. I decided I’d write a bit from my main character’s recent history. An afternoon with her niece. 350 words. Boom. Not 1,667, but not 100 either! I ALSO did some plotting.

Nothing yet today, but it is early (plus, if I’m 100% honest, this blog was written on Tuesday night, so definitely no Wednesday writing or plotting!)

Goals, come on Helen, concentrate!

Writing: 1,000 creative words posted on my blog. Not done yet. I’ve just (literally this second) decided that this week’s words, will very fittingly be the first 1,000 ish words of my NaNo novel, on Thursday. It fits well because in my head Thursday is fiction posting day (I guess it comes from my One Thousand Thursday idea, which I’ll definitely be doing in November!!).

Blogging: 1 book review, 2 check in posts, and the writing post. I reviewed Case Histories by Kate Atkinson yesterday. This is my first check-in blog. Still time. As above the writing one will be Thursday. Next week I’m going to reduce this goal down to 1 check-in per week. I’ll still aim for 2, but with NaNo, if I don’t have time for both, I’m not going to get worried about it. I need to focus on the 1,667 words.

Exercise: Gym or run x2. I nearly went to the gym yesterday, but I left work quite late, so decided to go today instead. Will do something at the weekend, or maybe Friday. We’ll see. Yesterday, when I decided not to go to the gym, I decided to walk to the next tube (not the closest one), in the end, I walked to the one further than that – over 3k, and over 200 calories. Not bad, especially not bad for someone that couldn’t be bothered to go to the gym!

Eating: Fasting 1 day (500 calories), 1400 calories 5 days. Didn’t count Monday. I think I did OK. No idea though. Tuesday I got 1,222 calories, so really happy with that. I’m going to try today as the fasting day, but I’m not sure, because I’m planning on going to the gym, so I should really eat to give me energy for that. I dunno.

So there we have it. I can only count 2 days, but they’ve been good days so I’m very happy. Lets hope today goes well, then I’m kicking off NaNo tomorrow. Woop!

*Note – of course from tomorrow, my writing goal changes to 1,667 words EVERY DAY!

Sunday Check-In, Good and Bad

It’s just days to NaNo. For the last 3 years, October has been the most productive month of the year, not so this year. Usually I think I need to get ready for writing 1,667 words a day by consistently writing daily. I think I kind of forgot that this year. Maybe this year I’m going for resting before NaNo!

Lets look at my goals this week, and how I’ve done:

Writing: 100 words a day on 5 days, or NaNo prep on those days. I did some prep on Monday and Tuesday. That is all. Just a few days left till NaNo, so I guess I’m doing a lot of prep in the next few days. Storyline, character names, character personalities, etc. etc. I’ve got a lot to do! I can do some tonight, it’s not too late.

Writing: 1,000 words creative writing posted to my blog. SUCCESS. On Friday I posted a story I wrote last year about Aliens and microwaves. That’s £5 in my fund from the boyfriend.

Blogging: 1 book review, 2 check-ins and the creative blog. Done, done, done! Woop!

Exercise: Gym or run 2 days. Pass.

Eating: ‘Fasting’ 1 day, 1,400 for 5 days. I did the ‘fasting,’ although I managed 623 not 500 words, but it was still good, so happy with that. Not so happy with the other 5 days and the lack of counting over those. How about I try again this week?


I like these goals, so I’m going to use them this week. Well until Thursday anyway. Thursday –  Sunday my writing goal will be 1,667 words.

Usually, I’m feeling good about NaNo, but this year I’m just feeling a little dread. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not doing chick-lit, and a little worried that I’m not going to be able to do this thriller/black comedy thing. I don’t know if it will have any comedy. I don’t know if it will be a thriller. All I do know at the moment, is that it’s called Love Authority. At least I’ve got a title, that’s better than the one I started in 2009, it’s still called ‘Holiday,’ with the ”.

On a final note, My Christmas cake is in the oven. I’m really excited, it’s the first one I’ve ever made. It’s going to be in the oven for another couple of hours. Unless I had it on too high a temperature for the first 2 hours. Oops!

Enjoy your last couple of days of freedom before NaNo if you’re doing it!

Another New Goal

I know it’s more than halfway through the week, but I need to adjust my goals. Not massively. In fact, it’s not so much adjusting, as adding to.

My current goals are (with this week’s progress)

Writing – 100 words a day for 5 days, or work on prep for NaNo for those 5 days. Monday – lots of prep for NaNo. Tuesday a little prep. Wednesday none. That’s fine, I’m going to try to work everyday for the rest of the week, because Tuesday’s prep really wasn’t up to much!

Blogging – 2 Check-ins for ROW80, 1 Book review. Monday posted a book review (The Snowman by Jo Nesbo), and now toady’s check-in. OK, so the check-in is late, but better late than never!

Exercise – gym or run twice. Not done anything yet. Planning to go to the gym tomorrow, and running Saturday, but not too confident on that one.

Eating – 1400 or less calories a day for 5 days, 1 day ‘fasting’ (500 calories). Today is my fasting day. I’ve had strawberries, blueberries and yogurt. I’ve got salad for lunch, and vegetables in tomato sauce for dinner. My stomach knows I’m dieting even though I would have had that for breakfast anyway – it’s been growling since 10am (I only had breakfast at 8am!). Lets not think about the other days where I should have eaten 1400 or less.

Those are my current goals, which I’m doing ok with. Now, my extra goal.

Blogging – post one blog with my creative writing a week.

This was my boyfriend’s idea. A few years ago, I used to take part in Fiction Friday, where you were given a prompt, you wrote for at least 5 minutes from it, then you post it. Yes, you post what you wrote, you didn’t even have to edit or anything.

It was scary at first, but when I’d done it a few times, I got quite used to it. It became, dare I say, easy to post my stuff. It was great, because I was getting comments on my stuff, but more importantly, I was doing that getting my stuff out there thing.

Boyfriend pointed out yesterday, that I haven’t posted any of my writing for months, or maybe years, which means when I’m in the position of sending out my manuscript to get an editor, it’s going to be even more terrifying than it could have been when I was posting stuff weekly.

Therefore, he’s decided that for every week that I post some writing (not including blogs) of over 1,000 words, he’s going to put £5 in a pot for me, to spend on anything I want. Oh, with the exception of anything I NEED, because I should be buying that anyway. Woop! Do I not have the best boyfriend in the world?

So now I have another goal this week. I’m excited, but also a little scared. That’s another think I need to think about. However with NaNo round the corner, it’s going to be ok. I hope!

Speaking of NaNo, I’m going to the London kick-off party this evening. I can’t wait. I was debating whether to do NaNo this year or not, but the thought of the parties and events was enough to make me want to! Forget the writing, it’s about the social life, right?