Tag Archive | New Writers’ Scheme

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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My Poor, Poor Blog

Hi there everyone, if there’s still anyone out there. I’ve just looked at my page, and I haven’t posted since 1st May. That was a book review. I haven’t written a proper post since April. It’s now July. Almost half way though. My poor blog. It must feel so alone. I must change that.

I have a few reasons why I haven’t blogged. All pretty good excuses, but excuses all the same.

I got a promotion *happy dance* It’s to a similar position, but I’m responsible for more and bigger buildings. It’s more money, more work, more enjoyment – I was getting stale in my last position. I’m loving it. But it’s hard work. I’m not really getting lunch breaks so no blogging during them (you remember, once I went through a month of blogging at lunch, yeah, not quite enough to be a habit).

I also have been crazy busy in June. My mum had an operation – hip replacement – so I went up there – a lot. I also had courses, and of course the new job. I was busy.

At the beginning of July we also went away for my birthday (Dusseldorf, Germany – lovely).

For some reason, blogging and writing and editing haven’t been on my radar. If I think about it, I massively still want to write, and get published etc, but this year, something’s stopping me.

I have an idea what it might be too.

This year I’m a member of the New Writers’ Scheme at the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Because of this, I get to send a manuscript in to them, and a published author will critique it. How incredibly awesome is that.

Wait…

How incredibly SCARY is that?? That’s a MASSIVE step. My friend Laura that runs Novelkicks.co.uk (who I also haven’t reviewed for, for MONTHS), was a member last year and was really shaken by the critique she got back last year. I’m scared of that. And I think that’s why I’m not editing. It’s just so scary.

Part of me is thinking ‘What if she says I’m terrible and I can’t write and I should give up?’ That part of my brain is almost silenced by another part that says ‘You’ve already sent work into your writing course tutor (remember THAT?), and she didn’t say you were rubbish – she said some quite good things.’ I like that part of my brain.

I am thinking though, what if this idea for a novel isn’t any good? What if my characters aren’t any good? What if there’s no story arc? What if it’s too predictable? What if it’s too unrealistic? What if…? What if…? What if…? See, it’s easier to bury my head in the sand than face up to these thoughts, and the realistic fact that any of those could be true.

Plus, so send the novel off, I need to finish the massive holes in it, and edit the silly thing. AGH!

I’m scared. But I know I’m not going to get anywhere if I’m scared. But that’s not forcing me to do this. I NEED to do this. I have to do this. I WANT to do this.

I just can’t do this.

No, I can. I will. I WILL.

Even if it’s just to prove the boy wrong who said I shouldn’t join the RNA cause I’ve not done any writing recently. HAVE to prove him wrong 😉

ROW80 Begins Again – 2013 Round One

Howdie fellow ROW80ers, and everyone else *waves*

I made some goals at the beginning of the year, and although I haven’t started them yet, it is only the 7th. And when I say I haven’t started them, what I really mean is I haven’t done much. Because yesterday, I took a really big step, and PRINTED The Man of My Dreams. All 160 pages of it (in addition to the 10 I already had printed.). Woop. My plan now is to read through it (12 pages done yesterday) and make notes of what happens as it goes along. Then when I’ve done that I should (I hope) be able to see which path makes the most sense – the way I took it originally, or the way I veered off to.

I’ve got a push to do it and edit it this year, the biggest push I’ve had so far. I got into the Romantic Novelists’ Association, New Writer’s Scheme. Double, (no triple, cause it’s that exciting) woop. I’ve been trying for 2 years before this, and always applied too late to get a place, so I’m so so happy I’ve got in. As well as going to their events (with speakers, novelists, publishers, agents, and new writers like me), I get to send them a manuscript where a published author will comment on it. Eek!

So I have to finish, and edit, and get The Man of My Dreams as good as I can by August.

Eek!

Keris Stainton (author or the *heart* series [Jessie *heart* NYC, Emma *heart* LA]) sent me a link to a page on Holly Lisle’s site – One-Pass Manuscript Revision: From First Draft to Last in One Cycle’. I’ve read about half of it, and it gives some good advice. I need to read further as I go along the process, but I think it’s going to be really helpful once I get there. Once I’ve read it, and decided which way to take it.

This round, I’ve decided to make weekly goals like I did in a previous round, because they seemed to work really well for me. Here we go then, for this week, Monday 7th – Sunday 13th January

– 7 hours working on The Man of My Dreams. I know this week it will mostly be reading, with some note taking, and I’m fine with that. I’m sure I’m not going to make an hour every single day, but if I can do the equivalent of an hour a day I’ll be really happy.

– 7 hours on my writing course. Writing course. Wow, remember that? I hardly do. I’ve not done it for so long, I need to call them and find out if I’m still ok to carry on, or if I need to re pay for it. I signed up about 4 years ago, so I think I’ll be fine. I’m sure I signed up before they put a time limit on it. Fingers crossed. I figure with the revision of the novel it will be good to work on this in conjunction. It will remind me of what I need in it, but also, the next assignment is to plot a novel, I think plotting TMOMD would be a good idea. OK, so the novel is mostly written, but it can’t help to get comments, and advice on it can it?

– Write 1 book review for here and one (my first) for my friend Laura’s website Novel Kicks. I’ve already read one book this year, and have 20 still to write-up from last year for my reading challenges last year. I’m late, but better late than never (some of them are likely to be never, but some of them I should, and want to review).

– 2x check in blogs (in addtion to this). As it says on the tin.

– Decide on reading challenges for the year, and write a blog about them. I’d like to do Room Beam Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge again – I failed it last year, so feel I need to redeam myself this year. Last year I took books of my shelf, this year I think I’ll take other books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while, but which aren’t necessarily on my actual physical shelf.

– Burn 1500 kcal through exercise on top of normal walking to work etc. I’ve joined the gym again this year, and am determined to use it more than last year. Plus I’m going to sign up to a 10k run in May/June so need to get back into training. On top of this, I now work between two buildings which are about 15 minutes walk (100 cals) between each other. If the last week is anything to go by, I’ll be burning about 600 just walking between them.

– 2x fasting days. I’ve started the 5:2 diet, where you ‘fast’ (eat 500 calories) 2 days of the week. So far it’s going well. Week one went well anyway. I’m slightly worried that some people said it can cause headaches, and I got a migraine earlier, but I’m sure headaches and migraines are actually caused by and totally different things, so probably not related. I’m going to keep an eye on it though.

That’s it then. It’s quite a lot, but it’s doable, I know I can. As long as I work a little each day, and take each day as it comes, I should be fine.

Laura has agreed to be my buddy again this round. We have a brilliant way of pushing each other, through Twitter, texts, Facebook and emails. Whatever it takes. It’s really good to have someone I know is going to push me, and it’s a good feeling knowing I’m making a difference by pushing her too.

I hope everyone has a good week.

2012 Planning

Well, we’re here again – time to make some new goals/plans for the year. I’ve not evaluated last year’s performance yet. I’m pretty sure I never evaluated 2010’s year! Maybe I should do that first? Nah!

I’ve not really thought about what I’d like to achieve this year very much. I have a few ideas, so let’s see how it goes:

  • A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80). I love this challenge, I have to do it again. It kept me motivated for about 160 days last year (one of the rounds went down the drain for some reason, and I only heard of it at Round 2). Plus I have an awesome buddy in the form of Laura Parish who really pushes me. I need ROW80. Hopefully it can get me writing again (which I haven’t done since Mid ish December).
  • ROW80 – round 1. Obviously I’m not going to make my goals for round 2, 3 and 4, but as Round 1 started yesterday – I need to make goals for that. ROW80 2012 Round 1 goals listed below in numbered bullets:
  1. Writing. This is my main goal. I HAVE to finish The Man of My Dreams soon. 1,000 seems a lot, but 500 words a day doesn’t seem enough. How about a flexible 500 – 1,000 words a day? Might backfire if I only write 500 every day, but let’s see how I go on that. When I finish The Man of My Dreams, I’m going to do random writing for a month (30 days exactly, no matter when I start it) before going on to editing TMOMD. That random writing can come from prompts etc. or whatever I can think of. 500 – 1000 words though!
  2. Reading. I want to find a way to balance my life with reading and writing. This is something I’ve not really managed up until now. I seem to be either reading, or writing. It’s probably because I feel like I don’t have enough time for them both, but hey. I want to read more. I want to read at least 2 books a month. So 6 books (ish) during ROW80. I’m going to attempt to do my 2 reading challenges throughout the year – rather than squeezed into the end like the last few years. Baring in mind that, 3 Mystery & Suspense books and 3 TBR Pile books by the end of the round! That’s doable! I have no idea how to split that down to a daily or even weekly goal – I don’t know how many hours it takes me to read a book. Guess I’ll just play it by ear. A book every 2 weeks. Ish.
  3. Exercise. I like having exercise as a daily goal, and seeing as I put on half a stone (7lb) over Christmas, I need to keep up with it. I really enjoyed the Wii challenge I had in December, so am going to stick with 20– 30 minutes on it a day. EXCEPT I’ve also joined the gym. I don’t really want to do the Wii and gym on the same day – so either 20- 30 minutes on the Wii, or AT LEAST 20 minutes at the gym. Also walking. I HAVE to walk to the train station at least once a day (the one 1.7km away) rather than getting the tube – twice would be great. At weekends I need to do some walking (and not just to the corner shop).
  4. Eating. Again, because of the 7lb, I need to diet. I don’t particularly like the word ‘diet’ so I’m just going to watch what I eat. Ideally I’d like to ‘watch’ myself eating 1,000 calories a day, but that’s really, really ambitious. 1,400 was working for me in December and I was losing weight doing that and the exercise. 1,400 it is then for now. I can always reduce it later if needs be.
  • (back to annual goals)
  • Get The Man of My Dreams finished. I wanted this finished by December. I’m going to extend that to the end of January. Ideally I’d like to before then. Let’s see how I do.
  • Edit The Man of My Dreams. After I’ve finished it, I’d like to leave it for a month, then go back ‘fresh’ to edit it. I hate editing and have never attempted to do it to a novel. I love this book though, so NEED to edit it.
  • Submit TMOMD to agents. Yes, bold statement. But if anything’s going to get me there, out of the things I’ve written so far, this will do it. I had originally put a date of the end of March (when I thought draft 1 would be finished last year). That’s WAY too ambitious. May? June? Somewhere around there. Definitely. Definitely, definitely.
  • More writing. Obviously at some point I’m going to finish TMOMD so need to do some more writing. I’d like to get back into Fiction Friday, or maybe take the plunge and try some Friday Flash (Flash Friday? Can’t remember what it’s called. You know what I mean? I do anyway!). Something different. Or different from the novel anyway.
  • Reading. Obviously I’ve got the 2 reading challenges – Mystery & Suspense and TBR Pile. Obviously, some can overlap the 2 challenges. I’d like to read 25 – 30 books this year. Some of them from different genres. Maybe a little more Sci-fi? Maybe some Fantasy (I still NEED to read Robin Hobb (Assassin’s Apprentice) that was recommended to me last year!)?
  • Exercise and eating. I’m joining the gym. I’ve got Wii fitness games. You get the picture. I’d like to lose a stone. I wanted to lose a stone when I was 8 lb lighter. 1 stone 8lb. Let’s see how I can do.
  • NaNo. Everyone knows I love National Novel Writing Month. 3 years down, with 3 ‘wins’ on my belt, you just know I’m going to try again this year don’t you. Hey, I might even give CampNaNoWriMo a try this year, or maybe NaNoEdMo (editing month).
  • Ooh, I’ve just been reminded (did I say Laura was awesome? I may have to take that back!) about my writing course. Laura’s only on module 4. I think I’m on Module 3 and started it before her (if I remember correctly). Maybe I should give that a go. Maybe once I’ve finished the 1st draft of TMOMD I should get on with another assignment or something. Agh! Damn you Laura (although not really!).  

Ooh, I’m sure I have a million other things I’d like to achieve this year. I just can’t think of them. I’ll add to this list as I think of things, but no taking away!

Bit of bad news before I sign off. I didn’t get into the New Writers’ Scheme at the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I had internet problems, then brain problems, so by the time I sent the email, it was 0.07 on 2nd January. The email I got back said they were full by 0.02 (they started taking applications at 0.01!!). Damn. Well, there’s always next year. Unless I get published myself… The good thing is guests can go to the events, so if there’s one I fancy (the conference in the summer maybe?) I can still go. I was gutted when I found out last night, but if it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be. I’d planned on finishing TMOMD this year and submitting it before I thought about joining the NWS (where someone from the organisation reads and comments on your novel) so I just need to revert back to that plan. As you can see from the above, I’ve already done it. It’s sad, but it’s not the end of the world!

As we all love a good picture, he’s a couple to end with.

For Christmas I got these lovely writing books from my boyfriend (Best. Boyfriend. Ever!)

 

Then just after Christmas we went shopping and I got more NEW BOOKS (and a couple of bookmarks from my mum) 🙂

A Plan for 2012

I’m slowly starting to think about my goals for next year. The major one has to be to edit The Man of My Dreams and try to get it published. HUGE step I know. I was thinking I’ll finish it this year (not sure about that one now – I’ve been so bad in the last few days!), have January off, then edit February and March and submit it to editors at the end of March/April.

But last weekend I came up with a better idea.

Every year the Romantic Novelists Association open their doors to UNPUBLISHED authors in their New Writers’ Scheme. The NWS allows those members access to events, and to submit a manuscript to them to get a published author read it and comment! Uh, yes please!

I tried to join in 2010, but by mid January when I tried to apply, all the spaces had been filled (there are only 250 each year).

I think this is totally the right step for me, at the right time. I know lots of writers from NaNo, but none write romance – they’re mostly fantasy or Sci-fi or something. By joining this, I’ll get to know (hopefully) romance people too! Woop! Of course I’ll get to go and learn stuff at events. And I’ll get to submit a manuscript! For commenting on. Before I send it to an agent. How awesome!

So I now need to get accepted into the program. They’ve changed the way they’ve done it this year, you need to submit an email, then if you’re successful, send a payment. Then you have a few weeks to send the payment. That’s really good because it means if I get in, I will be able to make the payment from my January pay (on 20th) – woop! It also means their website won’t freeze with people applying, or them having to temporarily close applications while they wait to see if all the spaces are filled (I think that’s what happened the year I tried!).

When I had this idea, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s just perfect. PERFECT. Imagine, being a member (if only via the New Writers’ Scheme) of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I’ve read tweets and comments on Facebook from people going to events – imagine if next year, I’ll be one of them? Seriously!!?

And, the novel submission thing. How awesome is that. They may comment on characters, plotting structure, as well as giving advice! How awesome is that! Seriously! I’m getting all excited AGAIN about it! I was so excited last weekend, I spent half of Sunday on their website!

Fingers crossed for me please everyone that I get a place – that would be a dream come true! Eek!