Tag Archive | Rowan Coleman’s Short Story Competition

Quite A Lot of Thoughts for A Thursday Night

I worked an early shift today. On the way home I decided NOT to go to the gym (I was meant to be going out so wasn’t supposed to be going anyway – that’s my excuse). My housemate wasn’t going to be in for an hour or so, so I thought I’d get my Fiction Friday story done. And a blog. And did I? Bet you can guess!

First I got sucked into making dinner. Then my new novel (Until it’s Over by Nicci French – I literally haven’t been able to put it down today. How come no one told me about her before?). Then when I was going to start writing I remembered I wanted to make Brownies for work tomorrow (it’s one of the team’s last day so thought it would be nice – plus I’ve been promising I’ll make something for well over a year now!). So now at gone 10, I’m starting a blog. Dunno if I’ll get as far as doing the Fiction Friday thing, I might just add a little more to the ‘Holiday’ scene I wrote yesterday.

Oh wow, yesterday. Yesterday was of course the Chick Lit Evening at Brixton Library. Now for those of you that aren’t familiar with London – Brixton is pretty far South. I live near-ish Tottenham which is pretty far North, and I work somewhere in the middle. So yes, it was well out of my way. But was it worth it? Hell yeah. Lisa Jewell, Jenny Colgan, Matt Dunn, Jojo Moyes, Kate Harrison and Rebecca Chance were all there. First they each did a reading, then answered questions from one of the library staff then the audience. There wasn’t as big turn out as I imagined there would’ve been, but that was almost a good thing, there weren’t 100s of people asking questions, and I had a really good view from the 3rd row.

Every extract from the novels that were read were great, I’m telling you there’s some new novels on my TBR list now! All the authors seemed honest and funny and like they genuinely wanted to be there. It was great. Just sitting listening to them talk about how they started writing, or how they got agents, or where they get their ideas from really inspired me to write more. I don’t want to be famous – I’m not all that good being in the lime light (hence I hide behind this NTWG front) but how awesome would it be to sit on a stage with 5 other people and talk about doing the job you love. Seriously – I want to do it!

Brixon library got a cake and on top of it were pictures of each one of each of their books. It was amazing. I’ve got a picture I’ll post of it when I download it from my phone.

At the end they had a boo signing. I really wanted to go up for a chat, but didn’t have any of their books to get them to sign, and we’re well past the time of the month that I can splash out on books. I’m actually really annoyed at myself cause I’d just finished a Kate Harrison book (Brown Owl’s Guide to LIfe – great book!) which I should’ve taken to get signed. Oh well. Next time.

The highlight of my evening was when Lisa Jewell caught my eye and must’ve recognised me from last time I met her (in April I think at another one of these author things I won a ticket to – just her that time) cause she smiled and lipped hello. At least I think it was at me anyway, ha ha.

So that’s 1 of my fun book/author things for the next two weeks. On Monday I’m going to a ‘How to Get Your Book Published’ night put on my a London Magazine Stylist. I had to pay for this one which I was pretty outraged at (not really, just all the other things I’ve been to have been free – but this will probably be the most useful). When I saw it advertised I ummd and ahhed about it, but, Lisa Jewell’s going to be there (I hope she doesn’t think I’m her new stalker) and so is Sophie Kinsella. I had to go didn’t I? Plus, champagne and canapes. HAD to!

Then on Wednesday I’m going to Rowan Coleman’s book launch party for The Happy Home for Broken Hearts. Saying that, I’ve not been confirmed on the list, but she said first 40 people to review one of her novels and I was the 2nd or 3rd, so pretty confident about that one.

The winners of the Rowan Coleman Short Story Competition were released today. I didn’t come top 8, but with over 300 entries I didn’t really expect to. She’s going to post the winning stories on her site over the next few days, so I’m going to read and learn from them. I’m so glad I entered, it made me realise that’s entering isn’t all that scary, even I can do it. Next step is magazine submissions I guess. Gulp!

When I was at work today I decided I’d write my Fiction Friday piece. I read the prompt and knew exactly how to start it. I was going to use Kate from Holiday again, cause I really like getting in her head and I’m there a lot of the time at the moment anyway (all my daily writing is her), and I knew where it would fit into the story (even if it’s not used in the novel itself). But then I started thinking more about it. Bad move. I then came up with a couple of ideas of where to take it. Then I couldn’t decide which one to use. The result was I didn’t write it. Damn it.

Then of course I decided to set a challenge for my Twitter friends. Well, not so much a challenge, more I asked for some help. Last night I replied to a couple of comments on here. That took my comments up to 666, which kinna freaked me out a little. By lunchtime today, it was still on 666. I’m not really superstitious or anything, but just didn’t like being stuck on there. I didn’t want to comment on anything myself for the sake of it, so I asked for help. And put an incentive out there too. I said I’d name a character in my Fiction Friday piece after the next person to comment on my blog. Bless Walt from WaltinPA – he commented (Thank you so so much Walt). I’ve got a couple of ideas of who ‘Walt’ is going to be. I wonder which one I’ll go with… Oh I’ve just thought, if I go with one I might be able to get my favourite word ever in it – ‘cantankerous’. Excellent.

I feel like there’s something important I was going to blog about and can’t remember what it was. Maybe one day I’ll plan a blog so this doesn’t happen.

Oh I know. My job! From sat around doing nothing today, I’ve managed to get a couple of people suggesting jobs to me, that I think I’d be in a pretty good position of getting.

The first one is for the company I work for now. My boss suggested it last week and I said no way – for about a week every 2 or 3 weeks I’d have to be in work at 7.30am. I’d have to leave my house at 6.30am. I’d therefore have to get up around 5.30am *shudder* I am NOT a morning person. My boss obviously wants to keep me cause she said she’d have a word with the manager over at that site to see if they’d like someone on the late shift (9.00 – 6.00pm) predominantly. Today she came back and said yes. Now because it’s a different site and the way my company works, I’d have to apply for it, but I think I’d be in a pretty good position to get it! Result. Except I hate the company I work for. But a job’s a job right.

Until. I was chatting to someone at the site I work at (a different company) and he mentioned he’s looking for an administrator. I said no straight away, but thought about it and thought it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. The money’s a little less than I’m on now, but it’s 2 1/2 hours LESS work a week do now, and 5 hours less than this other job I’m looking at. And finishes at a nicer time.

Either way, I’m not going to be able to spend as much time at work writing, blogging, tweeting etc which is a shame, but I’ve had a good run of 18 months doing it. I think if I get an iphone or something similar I’ll be able to still tweet and keep up to date with blogs and stuff. And if I get either of these jobs I’ll be finishing earlier so hopefully I’ll be able to get more done in the evening. Especially as the next few months will probably see quite a significant change in my living arrangements, meaning I’ll be more able to work in the evenings. But that’s a story for another time.

I’ve just realised how long this blog is, sorry to keep you so long. If you’ve even made it this far!!

Another Competition and a Lot of Writing

Morning peeps. Can you believe it’s Sunday morning (right now, it will be afternoon my the time I post it) and I’m awake and writing a blog? I find it pretty hard to believe myself, but there is a very good reason. And it’s not that I can’ sleep (which I can’t but that’s not the point).

Midday today was the deadline for the Bugged Project submissions. Having listened to many, many conversations on 1st July and writing the first 300 words of a story, I’d managed to procrastinate doing anything else until Friday. On Friday night I pretty much finished the first draft, but I needed to complete it and edit it over the weekend. I was out all day yesterday which left today. Good thing I woke up early!

I’m pretty annoyed with myself for leaving it until the last day to send in. In fact the last 15 minutes. I used to be like this at school – always leave things to the last minute. I like to think that I work better under pressure, but I’m not so sure. I guess we’ll see if my story gets printed on the website. Fingers crossed for me.

The story’s called Mushrooms. Nothing like a bizarre title for a story. The sentence I overheard was ‘I’m eating mushrooms.’ My story came from that. I’m pretty happy with it. Although I only finished it this today, I’ve been plotting it a lot in my head over the last six weeks, so I guess I have been working on it. So to speak. Hmmm.

This week the winners of Rowan Coleman’s Short Story Competition are announced. Nervous? Me? Never! It’s the first writing competition I’ve ever entered so of course I’m nervous. And the prize is awesome – three months mentoring with Rowan Coleman for the winner. Wow. Even if I don’t win or come top 5 (which I’m not expecting to) it’s been a great experience – my first competition entry. Regardless of anything else, it gave me the confidence to enter more and more things.

Speaking of more and more things. There’s another competition I’ve entered over at Chick Lit Shorties. You have to write a 500 character ending to a piece of writing they gave. To be in with a chance of winning you pretty much need to get lots of people ‘liking’ your story. So dear readers, if you like my stuff, please go visit the site, and if you like my story, please ‘Like’ it. Even if you don’t like my story, there are some great other ones that are worthy of a read!

I’ve just realised I’ve still not set any goals for August. Ah. Well, it’s 15th August today. Do I need to now? I don’t think so. I’m pretty much writing every day, and recording how much too; I’m reading a lot; I’m entering competitions and most importantly I’m doing lots of work on my writing course.

Yes, reread that bit if you want – I’m doing lots of my writing course. Woo hoo! This week I sent off my next assignment and have read and made notes on one of the modules I need to read for my next assignment. I decided to make notes on it, because that’s the way I worked at school. I think I thought that if I made notes it would go in more. There’s that, but also I’m just highlighting key bits, which I’ll put in a folder so if I need to refer back to anything at any point in the future I can go to my folder and find it quickly rather than reaingd through pages and pages of the booklet to find it.

I had such an awesome reaction to my Fiction Friday piece. To quote my new best friend (after this comment) Rebecca Stonebridge ‘Love, love love this. I want to read your novel.’ Wow. I then had a conversation on Twitter with her and Laura from NovelKicks and they were both telling me to get on and write the novel so they can read it. I’ve also had other comments from people saying they want to know what happens. I really am going to have to write it.

Doing these Fiction Friday pieces and that blog takeover day the other day, are really getting the characters in my head. I’m getting excited about writing it. So much so I really don’t want to go back and edit Italian Infatuation. I want to write holiday. But then if I do that I’ll have two unedited books. Can I edit one while writing another? Would it be too much? especially as one’s 3rd person and the other’s 1st? Hmmm.

I’ve not had a day at home doing nothing for ages (except last Sunday, but I did a big spring clean then) so am well looking forward to NOTHING today. Only it’s not going to be nothing. I’m going to read lots. And read another module of my writing course. And of course do some writing – although finishing off that story was writing, so maybe I won’t. But maybe I will.

Inception and Other Things in My Head

I went to see Inception last night. Had I have watched it two years ago, I would’ve just thought it was a great story. Now that I’m writing, I think it’s so much cleverer. I mean, just imagine having the thought in the first place, then developing it into so much detail, and on so many levels. It’s almost like five stories in one, all interconnected. It properly blew my mind – so much so I’m still thinking about it now. And am desperate to see it again.

I wish I could write thrillers, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t. I’ve never tried so I guess I don’t know, but I just can’t imagine being clever enough to think up all the twists that you’d need to keep the reader captivated. Saying that I do have an idea for a thriller that I might write at some point. Maybe. At the moment I’m happy with Romance and Chick Lit.

I’m determined to read a load of my writing course modules done today. I’ve had my booklet next to me all week, but have only made it to page 5. I am making notes though, so it will be a slow process. While I’m doing nothing for most of the day, it’s stupid NOT to be doing it.

Did you read my blog yesterday? It was ‘taken over’ by Kate from ‘Holiday’ as part of Blog Takeover Day held by Sally Quilford at Quillers. I loved this idea so much. Especially as it fitted in with my Fiction Friday pieces at the moment featuring Kate and Dan. I was tempted to do it from Dan to get into his mind to show he’s not all that bad, but as Holiday is written in 1st person it was too good an opportunity to ‘practice’ Kate that I had to go with her. There’s some great over takeovers that were done from other people: characters, pets and even laptops. If you get a chance I’d strongly suggest popping over to Sally’s blog to read some of them (when you’re done here of course 🙂 )

It’s a week today that the results of Rowan Coleman’s Short Story Competition are revealed. Although I have no doubts I won’t come anywhere near the top five – it was my first competition entry after all, and the standard of the other writers that entered is SO high – I do occasionally have little day dreams that I win. How nice would it be. I’m determined that one day I WILL win a competition, or at least get close. Practice, practice, practice.

Which reminds me, the deadline for the Bugged Project is this weekend. This is the one where you make a story from something you overheard on 1st July. I can’t believe it’s been a month and 12 days since I ‘bugged’ and I’ve only written the first draft of half the story. I really need to get it done before leaving work tomorrow, because I doubt I’ll get a chance over the weekend.

Ok, right then. Writing course!

Stats, Visitors and More

Potentially the most exciting thing that’s ever happened has just happened to me. I was looking at my blog stats for today (is it normal to be a bit obsessive over this?) and saw that two people had used a search engine to find me. Not so strange, it happens pretty frequently – but what was strange/exciting/amazing was that they searched for ‘New To Writing Girl’. They searched for ME! They typed my name into a search engine, wanting to get ME! Me! How exciting is that? It means someone’s remembered my ‘name’ and looked for me. It has happened before, but it was my mum, I’m 99% sure this wasn’t my mum. Whoever you are, thanks you’ve made my day.

You know what is also making my day pretty regularly? Recently the number of hits I’ve been getting to my blog has almost doubled. I don’t really get all this online stuff, but I’m pretty sure the stats on here aren’t completely accurate – I think maybe if one person visits my home page, then clicks on another page, then another, it shows up as 3 views not 1. It’s irrelevant to this though, my numbers have increased. So, HELLO new readers. I hope you’re enjoying what you’re reading!

I’ve done something else pretty interesting today. I’ve been through all my folders etc where different parts of Holiday (my 1st novel – although really 2nd because Italian Infatuation is finished and this isn’t) are and put them in one folder. And counted the words. I’m roughly 22k words into it. I think I knew that, but had totally forgotten I’d done so much.

Since doing that Fiction Friday piece last week in Kate’s (MC) voice, I’ve got a renewed interest in Holiday. I really want to get working on it again. Before I do that though, I need to get it all in order so I can see what I need to do. When I was writing it last year I’d hop around different bits depending on how I was feeling that day, so now I’ve got bits and pieces but nothing connecting them.

I’m also a little worried about the ending, actually no, not the ending but the middle. I don’t really know what’s going to happen in the middle. I guess I just write it and let what happens happen. That’s kind of how I wrote Italian Infatuation. I had a rough idea of what would happen – listed day by day – but then made all the detail when I wrote it. That was 50,000 words though. This is going to be much more. I have no idea how many more.

I’m pretty good at getting word counts roughly right when writing without trying that much. Well, with my story for Rowan Coleman’s Short Story Competition I hit just over 900 on the 1st draft when the limit was 1,000; also with Italian Infatuation I got (I think) 52,000 which went perfectly into NaNo which is 50,000 words in the 30 days AND fits right in with the word count Mills & Boon ask for in their novels (which is what I am aiming for with this novel).

Since I said the other day that I am thinking about doing a teen romance for NaNo this year, I can’t get the idea out of my head. I even came up with a bit of an idea for it. I’m actually going to have to do some research for it. I’ve not really done that yet. I lie, I researched Italy quite a bit for Italian Infatuation – but after I’d written draft one (I left pretty big holes in it when writing it for the detail to be filled in at a later stage).

The problem with starting Holiday again, is that I’ll neglect my other projects. I really want to edit Italian Infatuation (not that you’d guess when it was 8 1/2 months ago I finished the 1st draft and have edited about the first 3 pages – out of 51). I also really want to work on my writing course. Again you’d never guess, I wrote the last assignment MONTHS ago and haven’t edited that either. See a pattern here at all…?

Friday Fun!

I know it’s friday which technically means it should be Fiction Friday, but I’m not too sure if I’m going to take part this week. I probably will, but maybe I’ll leave it until Sunday. Or something.

Today’s been really busy for me. First I had to actually do some work at work (this week is crazy, almost feel like I had a real job with all this work stuff going on). Then I had to edit my story for Rowan Coleman’s Short Story Competition. Oh, that was a mission.

I totally planned to do it on Thursday, then just re-read it today before sending it, but I got accidently drunk on Wednesday, then had house key nightmares and didn’t get much sleep – so needless to say, I wasn’t feeling very creative yesterday. Then when I thought it was finished (or almost) I got a couple of people to read over it, cause I wasn’t 100% sure about the twist. I was right to be worried, they didn’t get it. So then I had to work out how to move it round. Eventually I did it, and sent it off. It’s gone. My first short story competition. It’s pretty exciting. Now I’m over the worry!

I’m now really tired after a week of really early mornings, so am going to go to bed shortly (I’m also working tomorrow – on Saturday, gutted!), so don’t feel like I can give Fiction Friday a fair go now. Tomorrow I’m working then going straight out for my friend’s 30th. So that’s why I’m probably not going to give FF a shot.

There’s another reason too, which I’m a little embarrassed to admit. But as we’re all friends here… The prompt for this week is to use a McGuffin in your story. A McGuffin. What? So they explained what it is, but I don’t really get it. Especially with the examples they used, from two films I’ve not seen. I’m sure if I wasn’t so tired and had more energy I could find out, but don’t have the energy today.

I did have an idea that I’d cheat and use ‘McGuffin’ as a name of a person. Because I said earlier in the week I wanted to use FF as an exercise in trying out different characters. So I thought that McGuffin could be a nasty, or short-tempered man. There would be a nervous person too and someone else. I don’t really know what she’d be. I think when I get the energy or something I’ll write it. Rules are meant to be broken after all 😉

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday’s Thoughts

I don’t think this whole 30 thing is working for me – or it’s working too much! Every day since my birthday last week I’ve been either going out, really tired or hungover. It’s zapping my productivity. Today for instance, should be putting the finishing touches to my story for Rowan Coleman’s Short Story Competition, but instead am very tired and a little hungover. Why do I do it?

I’ve done edit number one on it. The ending always makes me smile – I love the idea of it, I just hope the twist isn’t too subtle, I’m slightly worried it is. Probably just me being paranoid!

Oh no. I just finished this blog, and internet explorer died. Along with the rest of my blog 😦 I may cry! Actually I’ll go have lunch and come back and carry on. So upset!

Right, so where was I?

Rowan Coleman’s been running weekly mini story competitions via Facebook. Back in May I was a runner-up to one of the weekly competitions. Rowan said because my story made her laugh. Hopefully my story for this main competition will also make her laugh.

Having had this runner’s up position makes me a tiny bit confident about entering the comp. Hearing 33 people entered yesterday ALONE makes me anything BUT confident. Especially as I’m really struggling with a few sentences. I just can’t get them right. Other than that I’m pretty happy about it.

I think of the best things about entering this competition is it will hopefully give me confidence to enter more competitions, and maybe even submit a story to a magazine.

(I’ve just realised – I lost my blog. That’s great. On Sunday I lost my phone – then found it – last night I got home without my keys – but found them this morning. As things happen in 3s I’ve been a little worried about what I’d lose next. Very relieved it’s just a blog – I was having visions of it being my purse).

I went to the library the other day. I’d told myself I was allowed to get out two books. I got three, which to be honest was pretty good for me. I can’t remember what two of them are (yeah, they made that much of an impression!). The third (or first, whichever way you look at it) is The Baby Group by Rowan Coleman (see a pattern to this text?!) I’m maybe 1/5 of the way through it.

Reading it though has made me wonder about the characters in my writing. In this novel there are five women in the baby group – each one is totally different with different personalities, with different things motivating them. I’m worried my characters are all the same. I’m going to have to work on this – maybe for Fiction Friday tomorrow. If I get this Rowan Coleman story done in time.

Right off to start on draft 3 of this short story!

Reading… Writing… And Thanks…

I’m not a happy bunny today! When I left work yesterday, one of the computers crashed. Apparently EVERYTHING on the hard disk has been lost. Let me repeat EVERYTHING. So all the writing I’ve done over the last few months that I’ve not emailed to myself or saved in my email drafts, or done on another computer has been lost. The worst thing about it is that I was going to save everything yesterday to my USB stick, but it didn’t work. How typical.

I think it’s not as bad as I’m imagining. I think most of the time I either email myself what I’ve done, or store it as a draft. But I can’t remember what was on there to remember to look for it. How annoying.

The thing I’m most annoyed with is a 2000 odd word thing I’d written about meeting a stranger in an airport. I really liked it and thought it could maybe fit into one of my novels, ‘Holiday’. Because it was so long and took me a few days to do, I thought it must be saved somewhere on my emails (I work on 3 different computers at work so am constantly moving round), but I can’t find it. I think I saw it yesterday on the computer that crashed. Damn. I’m sure I’ll find it, but it’s so annoying. I hope I will anyway.

I finally sat down last night and did the 1st draft of my story for Rowan Coleman’s Short Story Competition. 907 words. I don’t think I read it back, so I have no idea what it’s like. I’m going to leave it today, then go back tomorrow (when, fingers crossed, I’m less tired and it’s not ‘fresh’ in my mind).

I wanted to re-read the module on my writing course about short stories before I wrote it, but typically can’t find that booklet. I’ve written to my tutor to get an online password so I can access it online. I thought I’d done that but neither of my email addresses worked. Sigh.

Which reminds me, writing course. Damn, I had a goal to work on that for at least 2 hours a week (I think). I failed miserably on that one. Oops. It was my birthday week though, so I think I can let myself off on that – I’ll try to do double this week to make up for it!

Speaking of Rowan Coleman, I’m going to the library to get one of her books today. I figure seeing as I’m entering her competition I should read some of her work. I’ve read one of her mini novel, quick read things, which is how I heard of her, that was great. I’m planning on walking out with one book only. Lets see if I can manage that (I bet not!).

That’s a complete lie. I’ve just been through the list I have on Ubernote of books I’ve heard of that I want to read (yeah, I’ve got a different list to the one on here – I should update this one!) and found that my library has one of the books on my list. What am I to do? I’ll have to get that one too. So 2. MAX. No more. Just 2. We’ll see…

I wrote my 500th comment last night on this blog. I know I’ve not actually had 500 comments, I know a lot of them are mine, but still, I must have had a lot. I like to reply to them all, but sometimes I group reply. Thanks everyone who comments, it’s so nice to know people care enough to take time out of their day not to just read my blog, but to comment too 🙂