Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Writing Structure

I seem to be writing this current chapter (5b) differently from the other ones. The earlier chapters were written chronological but this one is more of a patchwork. I started with the ending as I knew where the plot needed to be by the end, then some of the middle as I have crucial parts that just needed to be written at that moment and then the beginning.
The only problem is I need to link them - add more details, take out an repetitions over the several files. All the chapters have at least four or five files - I need to be more organised and merge them at some point.

I finally have a title too or at least a working title. If I mentioned it before, than that was only an idea but now it feels more permanent now I have written the title down a few times. I have also checked on Amazon to see if any other books have that name. Only two non-fiction titles. Nothing that would clash.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Last Minute Competitions

Its the final days for the Bridport writing competition. I entered about ten minutes ago via online entry so you still have time. I have entered twice, once at the beginning of my writing 'career' (sounds strange saying that but I guess its time to be professional) with a story that now makes me cringe because of a silly, silly plot and dull characters. I also entered last year but with a story that still needed work.
I wasn't going to bother but one of my favourite authors is judging. So I am hoping my entry gets pass the readers and into her writing mitts.

I am also about to enter the Guardian competition too. The closing date is my sister's birthday.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

This week has been full of anticipation as my sister is nearly ready to have her baby, waiting to hear back about several pieces and I also won a Moleskine notebook on Twitter.

The novel is at a stage where I have never been before. I have reached over twenty thousand words. I have never written that amount of words for one project. I have come close and then abandoned the idea but this idea keeps me on my toes.

  • Novel word count - 21,888

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Edinburgh International Book Festival

I have booked a cottage in Edinburgh at the end of August for a relaxing holiday away from decorating and the day job. I'm also hoping to catch the tail in of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Tickets went on sale yesterday and I was refreshing the website until it started working (around lunchtime) and I have some tickets to go and see two of my favourite authors:
Douglas Coupland
Witty, clever and entertaining, Douglas Coupland's international bestselling novels walk the tightrope between optimism and paranoia. Generation A mirrors his debut Generation X, this time with a near-future world where bees are thought extinct, until five people in different countries are stung on the same day. A hugely original contemporary voice.
Margaret Atwood
The second opportunity of the day to see one of our greatest living writers. Come and hear all about Margaret Atwood's new novel The Year of the Flood, an apocalyptic vision and a new beginning. In a world where systems of religion and science have been pushed to extremes, a group of survivors build a new life based on their faith. Powerful, important, beautiful literature at its very best.
I have until the end of August to contain my excitement and also to think of any questions. Please don't let me stutter because of nerves!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Writing Space

This is my new desk and writing space. The desk is huge (found via EBay) and I can fit pretty much everything on it! The background is my new whiteboard/pinboard. One corner has a list for the boyfriend, who at first wasn't too keen on the idea. "Only good for meetings and we're not planning meetings are we?" I gave him some space on it (In the future he might own his own one!) and now has been wavered to our side.

The writing is coming on
great. I didn't write every day this week but I have written more than I would normally and I hope to cross the 20K border this evening.

I like this quote from the Mslexia diary too:

"I still don't think I have a vocation - and writing is a way of avoiding one."
- Henrietta Rose-Innes.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

  • Novel word count - 19,400
  • Still waiting to hear back about four pieces.

This week has been mainly about editing, editing, editing. Personal statement is ready to send (waiting for professional statement) and two stories are nearing the finishing line.
I also came across this website, The Book Seer, that helps recommend a book based on your previous reading. My reading list has already expanded.
I keep sneezing when I read at the moment. My copy of 'The Women's Room' is ancient and second hand or even fourth hand with yellowed, curled pages. But 80 pages in, and I love it. I like reading books that I nod with agreement. Someone who understood how I felt when I was a teenager. Great book.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Hairdressers and Chat

This weekend I have been concentrating on editing but found time to try out a new hairdresser in my new town. An old lady sat next to me as I waited for my appointment. She was really chatty and told me she only came in every week because the stylists had become her closest set of friends.

We talked about writing. Doesn’t happen much these days unless it’s online. So I sucked up every word.

-“I like to dabble in writing too.” – I think she thought I did it as a hobby for Sunday afternoons and rainy days.

And she liked to write stories from an animal’s point of view, especially naughty Blackbirds. But the story must have a moral to it as people learn their behaviour from novels, etc. That’s why she didn’t enjoy modern stories. I don’t really like stories with the moral screaming off the page. Actually I have never considered making any story particular to that thought.

But she did come up with a good idea:

Know a child who doesn’t like writing. Write the beginning paragraph and then get them to do the next part and you do the next, etc. She did this technique with her grand daughter (they send the exercise books in the post to each other).

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

Motivation has taken possession of me this week. Every day I have written something, either the novel, some more towards a short story or letters and personal statements. Nothing can stop me at the moment. Not even the football commentary blarring from the television downstairs. 

Update on writing projects: 
  • Novel word count: 18,583.
  • One story has been redrafted (the first paragraph removed - something I always need to do. A lingering start always helps me find the plot and know the situation better - its only words - I can delete them at the editing stage - which I did this week).
  • Wrote some more of the story that I keep promising to do. 
  • Wrote first draft to my personal statement for the writing scheme.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Writing Day Agenda

I have booked today off work for some writing. Some words will be fiction and some will be non-fiction, serious words. 

The agenda for today:

Write Personal Statement for writing scheme
Write an important letter
Revise my CV for scheme
Write at least 250 words on novel
Print off story for reading and make any edits
Send important email

Monday, 8 June 2009

finished Project

I finished my cross stitch project a few weeks ago but have only just got around to loading the photo. I enjoyed cross stitch and so I have started a birth sample for my sister's baby (due next month) and I have purchased another one in the series - Elephants. 

I have busy with writing over the past week. Every day there is a bigger word count. Also I have had some 'thinking time' about the mentor scheme and should start writing my personal statement tomorrow. Lets hope the professional statement pulls through. Also I need to pick some writing to show as an example. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

An update on writing projects:
Novel word count - 16,511 - I have been finding time to write everyday even if its a small amount.
One story has had corrections done. These need to be changed on the computer file.
One story in the process of being transferred from notebook to macbook - This is still in progress from last week.
Four stories awaiting response from editors.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Mentor Scheme

Lisa sent me an email about an opportunity for East Anglian writers. Escalator is a scheme designed to help early career writers to help improve their writing and prospects. 

I am planning on applying. The deadline is July so I have time to pull together three thousand decent works, a personal statement and also try to get a professional statement. 

Guidelines (copied and pasted from the above site):

Who Can Apply?

Eligible applicants must:

• Be currently resident within the Eastern region; Bedfordshire, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk or Suffolk
• Be unpublished or in the early stages of their career
• Not be studying for an academic qualification in creative writing, unless completed before October 2009 (requirement for Grants for the Arts application)
• Not have received an Arts Council Grant for the Arts award in the previous three years
• Not be an employee of Writers’ Centre Norwich

The Support Offered

Between September 2009 and May 2010 each of the ten writers selected will be provided with:

• Support through an application to the Grants for the Arts Lottery scheme
• Creative mentoring from experienced writers and mentors
• Access to training opportunities
• Specialist advice and development workshops
• An opportunity to showcase their work
• Support in establishing contacts with agents and other literature professionals

The Application Process

There is a two stage application process.

Stage One is the submission of the initial application. This should consist of:

• A sample of your work up to 3000 words typed (hand-written submissions will not be accepted), single-spaced 12pt on A4.

• A professional reference (up to 300 words) on the value of your work and your suitability for inclusion in the Escalator Scheme from one of the following: accredited creative writing tutor, literature development officer, literary agent, publisher, literary editor, professional writer or other industry professional.

• A personal Statement (up to 300 words) including your personal details, an outline of your writing career so far, and the reasons you believe you would benefit from inclusion in the scheme.

What We Are Looking For

Proposals will be assessed and a long list compiled from those who meet the requirements outlined below:

• Residency in the region
• Creative talent
• Potential for development
• Realism of proposal
• Commitment to the Escalator Literature development scheme

DEADLINE STAGE ONE: Midday Wednesday JULY 15

Monday, 1 June 2009

New Writing Toy

My new writing accessory is a whiteboard/pinboard (Half and half) thanks to Katie's (www.katiemccullough.wordpress.com) suggestion on Twitter. I would put a picture on here but there is only two notes on it. One with my 'awaiting response' and the other on what needs redrafting and editing. Nothing exciting. Yet.
Having my to-do lists visually has already motivated me. I had a story come back recently with some feedback from a writing friend and I have let it stew on the computer but now its printed off and has some notes on the page.

I have also developed a daily writing habit too. New Desk, new writing board, new motivation.