Monday, 5 September 2011

A hard-learned lesson

My goal of 10,000 words by the end of August was achievable.  I'd written 5,000 and with the children away and DH also away for the weekend nothing was going to stop me ... far from it, I knew I'd sail past 10,000, maybe even reaching 15,000.  I sat up late into the night, hunched over the keyboard, eating pasta as it's quick to cook and even quicker to eat.  The only person I saw was the Tesco delivery driver for 5 minutes on Saturday morning. 
Then disaster struck Sunday evening......  I'd had a problem with the computer tower earlier in the month and had bought a new one, the local computer shop managed to save all my work and photos and transfered them onto the new tower.  So to stop any danger of work being lost on the tower in the future I started working off my hard drive, thinking it's only me who uses it so everything would be safe.  Until Sunday night .... the power lead failed in some way ..... all I could see on the screen were my chapters in feint outline. I tried to open one or two, the hard drive closed itself down and that was it.  The whole lot lost for good.  The computer shop did their best but only found very old drafts done way back at the beginning of the year, they bear no resemblance to the versions I'd been working on and they couldn't find any of the chapters I'd typed up that weekend.
Deep breath time ..... soul searching time ...... was it worth carrying on? ....... shouldn't I just give up? ....  then small snippets of chapters started coming back to me, not exactly the same but many of them better than I remembered writing at 2am.   So no, I'm not going to give up.  I'll carry on to the bitter end and on the way I'll be saving it to the hard-drive, the tower, printing out a copy and emailing it to my yahoo account....... surely four copies will be enough??  And at least I've only lost a handful of chapters .... I could have been at the end of the novel, ready to pitch and seen them all disappear in front of my eyes ;)

Friday, 22 July 2011

Summer Holiday Beano

I've been churning away at the novel .. sonetimes it's snail-slow and others so fast I could finish the novel by the end of the summer.  This fluctuating pace is directly in line with how many extra curricular activites I've got going on.  Take the allotment ... nothing grows as well as the weeds, just miss one week down there and they're towering triffid-like over my beloved beans.  And then there's the pigeons who managed to strip virtually all of the redcurrants off the bushes in the space of two days plus breaking lots of branches too.  I'm not one for cliches, but headless chicken's one that definitely applies to the past month but it's the start of the school holidays and I'll be down to working just 2 days a week.  My holiday target is to write at least 10,000 words between now and the end of August ... if I can write more than that in between days out, picnics, tidying up my side of the bedroom then whoooppeeeee but if I'm still on 2,000 by August 28th I'm going to chain myself to the desk, install a commode and bash away until I limp up to the magic 10,000. :)

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Short Story Comp

It's coming up to Tring Writers annual writing competition.  This year's challenge is to write a short story on the theme Enduring Love.  Had a great idea for the ending and worked backwards from that.  I'm still perfecting it, the judging's this coming Wednesday and entries need to be in by Tuesday (it was last Friday but it's been extended).  Never let it be said that I would hit the send button without utilising every spare moment to edit  a submission.  A small tweak here, a longer one there .... so hard to leave something alone when you've still got 48 hours to plug up the gaps, spot any inconsistencies in the timing.  It's just about there, will take one last look tomorrow afternoon and then ping it away to its fate, then I can get back to the novel.... yes the novel.  It's beginning to take shape but need to get on with some research so I can write with authority ....... indoor sky-diving here I come.

Friday, 6 May 2011

More procrastination than is reasonably healthy

So.  Having hit sky high with my plotting, the novel almost ready to write itself I have ..... well written hardly anything.  (Not entirely true as I've written a 1,500 short story for the writing group short story competition and started a teen fiction novel that's been lurking at the back of my mind for a while. )  But the novel's been static ... so static it might as well have fallen off the planet for all the attention I've paid to it.  Out of guilt I dug it out again yesterday and I quite like it again, still think it's a great idea and really want to get on with it .... am kicking myself for all the lost words I could have written over past the few weeks, but am now buzzing with ideas so here's to the next five chapters :)

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Thumbs Up For Plotting

The plotting has worked.  The novel I’m working on has many threads which I was unsuccessfully trying to tie together on a spreadsheet.  I wrote them out on individual pieces of paper, spread them across the floor and started linking them together.  Having them physically in front of me made it so much easier to see which ones could be grouped together and also how they will work with and add to the main story arc. 
The whole novel’s now there and ready to write … I’ve scrapped chapter 1, re-written it and am ready to surge on with the story.  My protagonist is going to have lots of adventures throughout the novel and working on the premise that you need to have experienced something before writing about it, I’ve got a great few months ahead J

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Plotting vs Pantsing

I’ve always been a pantser,  typing away and never knowing where the plot was going, often ending up dead ends which need heavy editing to get back to the main storyline.  I’ve been using this method on my current project and have been up so many blind alleys it’s driven me mad.  So after a lot of research I’m going to have a go at plotting it all out first.  It’s not going to be hard and fast, there’ll be room to alter things as I go BUT I think I’ll get along with writing the novel a great deal faster if I have a good idea of what’s going where.
I read some advice on the net which suggests writing down the main elements of each scene/chapter on separate pieces of paper.  You then lay them all out on the floor and move them around/group them together until they look right.  What a great idea … no guessing what I’ll be doing this weekend J

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The long road starts here

Dreaming about being a published writer isn't enough, I need to get out there and do it..... however long it takes.  I've had my name in print via a column for Knitting Magazine and have also had a short story published in our local Adult Education Centre magazine.  Since then I've been concentrating on writing a novel.  I'm now on my fifth, having consigned my earlier attempts to the room 101 folder on my hard drive. 
I'm a member of the brilliant local writing group Tring Writers Circle where there's no shortage of feedback, advice and encouragement which has made a huge improvement to my writing.
My current novel is going really well, I'm having a lot of fun writing it and think it's going to be worth submitting when it's finished.  I recently pitched the basic plot at the Get Writing Conference and had a very positive response which has spurred me on to start pounding the keyboard at every opportunity.  With a day job, an allotment and chauffeur to our children to keep me busy there's not a lot of spare time left so I'm setting myself a goal to complete one chapter a week .....