My NaNoWriMo Word Count Widgets!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

This Blog has Moved...

I hope you'll continue to follow me at the new site. I decided it was time for a change and general update. The new blog still follows my writing progress, is slightly less focussed on what I'm up to on a daily basis, and slightly more focussed on mental ill-health and how to cope with it.

I hope to see you there!

Friday, 1 March 2013

An update...

...on Hospital Corners. No, it's not that exciting, but it's still a tiny positive step.

A long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away), I submitted HC to a new publishing company called Bookkus. Their approach is to employ a host of volunteer readers to review manuscripts and rate them. Enough reviews, enough stars, and the book moves onto the next stage.

Hospital Corners has made it onto the second stage, although I haven't the faintest idea about what happens next. I'm assuming the guy who runs the site will ask people to read the full manuscript and pass judgement, but there are a lot of books getting reviewed from all sorts of genres. If I simply wait for the appropriate number of positive responses, I might be waiting a long time, simply because lovers of Women's Fiction don't stumble on the site.

So this is a plea...if you like my work and would like to see it in print, please consider visiting and signing up as a reader. You can then read and review as many of the books as you like (please don't just look at mine; there are a lot of us struggling wannabe-authors out there!).

Pleading over, time to get back to rewriting Agoraphobics Anonymous. I'm onto Chapter 21 out of 69 now.

Monday, 25 February 2013

A change... as good as a holiday, they say.

For the past year, I've ended up writing directly into Microsoft Word, simply adding to my master document a chapter at a time, emailing the updated version to myself every night incase of computer glitches/hitches/nightmares. Me being me, I stick with what's familiar and safe (not unlike Angela and David in my book). But perhaps I shouldn't be afraid to experiment with how I write?

I've used "proper" writing software in the past for NaNoWriMo, and I came back to it this week for my WIP. Scrivener is great when you have a plan/chapter outlines/structure. None of which I had when I started Agoraphobics Anonymous!

But now, after writing out my chapter outlines, I've transferred them into Scrivener (it has handy electronic notecards you can view alongside the actual chapter as you write). And I'm rewriting the whole book into Scrivener, completely fresh. And it's great.

Instead of skipping over whole paragraphs, I'm re-typing them and discovering better ways to arrange them. Whole sections are being shuffled around to make the story flow better. Characters are coming to life. Hurrah and, indeed, huzzah!

It's slow going, of course. I've been working on and off for three days now (more off than on, I must admit, thanks to the presence of Lovely Boyfriend) and I'm only onto page 17. BUT I'm far happier with the first 16 pages than I was even a week ago. Less babbling....speaking of which...I'd best crack on!

Friday, 22 February 2013

It's getting drafty....

...the third draft of Agoraphobics Anonymous, to be precise!

Always, always print out a hard-copy of your manuscript! This is something I learnt whilst working as a scientific proof reader and shouldn't have forgotten! Even if you're only changing the odd word here and there, print and read a final copy before declaring "The End". Here's why:

I slaved for weeks, turning Draft 1 into Draft 2. I was pleased with my progress and hoped to pass Draft 2 onto my beta-readers this week. Hah! I read a printed copy and immediately spotted areas still requiring development/expansion/cutting completely.

I think it's because I wrote this book completely off the cuff. I didn't know where I was going or who my characters were. I simply wrote one chapter a day, in the POV of ever-evolving characters. Now, after reading a paper copy straight through, and then by character, I can see where I developed them as I went. Now I have to go back and develop them right from the start! This time I have a chapter outline and it's really helping me cement Angela, David and Ryan.

However, all is not lost and I still want to have the final manuscript ready for submission in April. Then it will be all systems go on finishing the first draft of my 2012 NaNovel before tearing it to shreds and starting again!

PS: For those who follow me on Facebook, I've changed the title from Hospital Corners to The Lovingdell Series, to reflect the different books I'm working on.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Getting stuck in.... work, not snow!

Looking outside at the remains of the neighbour's snowman (a carrot on the grass), it's hard to believe that this time last week it snowed non-stop for 12 hours. Lovely Boyfriend and I took Lolloping Lexie for a long walk to appreciate the beautiful scenery around us. Then Lovely Boyfriend drove me around for the rest of the day because I couldn't get my little Poppy car out the street!

Now the snow's melted, Lovely Boyfriend is back offshore, and I'm getting stuck back into editing Agoraphobics Anonymous. I've rewritten over half of it now, but I know the really hard work is just starting as the latter chapters were written in a hurry! Once I've prepared draft two, I'll pass it onto a few people to beta read before I completely polish it off and start submitting. And thus I come full circle to this time last year when I was polishing off Hospital Corners! Nice to know I can write a book in a year AND have a life too!

My little singing class is going well, despite a lingering, phlegmy cold in the household (Little Tootsie sounds like she's purring at times). I've chatted with some of the adults, have learnt the names of most of the kids and have only forgotten the words twice. *grin*.

So - that's what's happening this week. Now I must get back to work otherwise Lovely Boyfriend will give me into trouble (I said I'd edit while he's away so we can take more long, healthy walks for exercise while he's home). Onto the second chapter of the day!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Telling it as it is....

....something you don't want to do as a writer!

Since taking a break from Agoraphobics Anonymous over the holidays, I've started back and recognised my problem. I was so keen to work out the story, I concentrated on telling it rather than showing it. There's a world of difference between the two, not something I'd ever heard or thought about.

When you tell a story, you concentrate on the facts and the actions. Your characters do one thing, then they do another. You work your way through the plot from Start to End and are really happy when you work it out. Then you read it back and realise you killed off your characters.

Showing is when you take the facts of the story and personalise them. You write as if you ARE the character, rather than a narrator. That's when your writing takes on a life of its own and people start identifying with the characters.

I don't say the whole book is rubbish - I'm really pleased with huge chunks of it. But I'm going to be spending quite a bit of time rewriting before I get to the proofing/editing stage. It'll be a fun challenge.

In the world outside my imagination: it's been snowing but I've got my fingers (and toes) crossed that Lovely Boyfriend will still make it home this week. I survived my first solo music classes with only a dry and croaky voice at the end. The kids (and parents) left with smiles on their faces so I think I managed OK. It'll take time for us all to settle down with each other, but I'm hopeful this will all work out just fine. I was nervous but I really enjoyed myself! My own musical society meets up tomorrow night to discuss our next show (Little Shop of Horrors) so I'm looking forward to starting that.

I'll stop here, because it's actually too dark to see the keyboard anymore...good job I learnt to touchtype over the years!

Monday, 7 January 2013

2013.... turning out to be as much fun as this time last year, when Lovely Boyfriend and I met for the first time. Yesterday was the first anniversary of our first lunch together. In some ways, 2012 vanished in a blur, but in other ways it feels like we've known each other forever. It was nice to have a happy year for a change, and I'm hopeful 2013 will turn out the same.

I took a complete break from writing over the holidays, thanks to a couple of over-excited Twotsies and, quite simply, deciding I needed a break! I started back with my editing head this afternoon and feel much more refreshed thanks to the decent break.

I'm also singing a lot of nursery rhymes while I work! I'm helping a friend by tutoring some toddler music classes. I had 2 this morning and they were great fun. There's nothing like smiling babies and toddlers to put a smile on your own face.

Plans for 2013? Get divorced. Be happy. Keep on writing (which also means keep on editing as it turns out to be just as, if not more, important than the initial creative burst). I'll keep you posted on how things are going!