Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

I have reached thirty thousand words. Thats 30,000 words. I always find digits look more impressive.

Over all word count: 30,632.

This has been a good writing week so far. Cubicle Crimes is up at The Beat, I have started edited another comedy piece based on true events and I am also reading Generation A by Douglas Coupland. I really like it so far (only 150 pages read). I might be biased though as I have liked his previous books.

Cubicle Crimes at The Beat

The Beat have accepted my real-life inspired story, Cubicle Crimes. All names have been changed to protect the guilty. I mean innocent. Also some of the events are not from real life but that's what makes it fiction. You need to embellish, tell a story, make stories appealing.

The Beat are U.K based and look to showcase new and exciting writers.

You can read Cubicle Crimes here. And comment if you wish.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Shelving the Novel

Today I had to shelve my current reading book. A Novel. (sorry, I'm not going to give the title as I don't like to upset people and I would like to hope that people would treat me the samey) (Its not also the book in my current reading window either). I don't like putting books back that I have only half read but I tried with this novel and I couldn't go any further. I even looked at the Amazon reviews yesterday and there were people on there giving the book stars from 5 all the way to 3 - so I did feel bad and sat down before bed last night to have one more crack at the book but I just didn't care anymore.

But the book still got me thinking about my writing and what I could do to avoid readers with my work having the same reaction as me:

  • Every other chapter had a different plot with all the characters fighting for page space to be the main character. It was confusing especially with their names drifting between being called 'Doctor Surname' and 'name.'
My novel also has two plots running through on every other chapter but I need to make sure there are defined characters and the secondary characters know their place.

  • I wanted to know more about the world but it was mostly action.
In my writing I want to find the right balance between description and action.

  • Confusing about where the plot was heading as new questions were springing up and old questions were left unanswered. Maybe if I finished the book I would have found them. But there were too many. Characters were changing their goals in each chapter too.
My writing needs to have a structure and defined character goals.

  • One chapter was based on one event whilst the other was faster and over a longer time period.
I need to maintain the pace in each chapter but also as a whole.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

Overall Novel Word count: 28,015

Oh, what happened there? The word count has only increased by 483 words. What about the daily target? What about your newly found motivation?


Firstly, this week went very quickly. By the time I reached my Macbook it was Wednesday again.
This week has been busy what with my sister giving birth to a beautiful baby girl (I had my first cuddle this evening), stressing about my cable and worrying that I would never open my files again because they are all doc.x and also doing more DIY and painting because we want the house to look half decent as this weekend we have a friend staying in the 'spare bedroom' (currently half painted, half wall-papered, half a carpet).

Also all my notes from the past week are in my notebook and I don't fancy counting every word on those ten pages.

Next week will be a better word count. I promise.

There is also my short story that needs editing. I must remember that....

An editor rejected my story last week but has now got back to me, asking if he could workshop it. Sounds fine to me. Feedback in all shapes is helpful.

Monday, 20 July 2009

A Good Start to the Writing Week

I used my MacBook down to the last drop of battery but no fear, Mr. UPS has delivered me a new one and I can start writing up my novel notes.

Also some good news after my record breaking 10 rejections last week - an acceptance. This one is super special as the magazine is published in the UK and also in my part of the world, East Anglia.

You can visit Sleepy Orange here.

You can read Russian Doll here and leave a comment if you like.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

Word count Wednesday is going to be brief this week. After writing last night's post, I sat writing for hours and didn't notice that my Macbook wasn't charging or even running from the mains. My power cable has broken. The lovely chaps at Apple are sending me a new one, in exchange for the old. Fair deal.

This week I haven't written as much novel as I have also written some flash pieces and the first draft of a story.

Over all word count for novel - 27,532.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Writer's Methods

I like Mslexia’s author interviews and especially the insights into their methods. This issue Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun) has given her method and I agree with most of them.

In the third year of university, my tutor handed out photocopies of these small Mslexia methods. (I remember feeling like a ‘know it all’ as I had the original copies). We had to decide which author had the best method and which ones could we relate too. I struggled as I could take bites from each one. But with Adichie’s I like all of them.

These are my favourite ones:

  • Have no routine, no rituals.
  • Generally a nice meal helps.
  • Eat chocolate.
  • Always write on you Mac laptop.
  • Curiosity never killed any cats – curiosity is one of a writer’s greatest tools.
  • Base you writing on reality, not on themes.
  • Read books
  • Don’t let others tell you how to tell your stories.
  • Work on short stories while working on a novel.
  • Write when it comes.
  • Enjoy the fun of doing something that you love.

You can read an extract here.

Adichie Interview

This has also inspired me to write these in my new Moleskine notebook and to also consider my methods.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Second Person POV

You were told after writing a six thousand word story in your third year at university that second person point of view wasn't popular and was a tad too experimental. But you liked your story with the reader having a central role. It felt more interactive, fun and gave you more freedom, too.

Tonight you wrote a story. First in third person, then first and then you remembered your good old friend, Second person.

The story is full of energy and truthful too. You like it. You even have a moment of thinking it could be the best piece of fiction that you have written for months. You like the story so much that you polish, edit and send it off. No leaving it on the MacBook to stew. This story needs to be read.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Eleven Kinds of Loneliness

The application form for the Writing Scheme is now on it's way through the postal system and will hopefully land at its destination before Wednesday's deadline. Fingers crossed.

I have also found myself with a new short story to edit and also a flash piece. One is about the end of the world. again. I am obsessed at the moment with think about society collapsing or the world's resources running out.

Richard Yates. You might know him from the adaptation of this novel Revolutionary Road with Kate Winslet. I came to know the name through my Bookselling days. A few novels would sell every few months and I would file them in the fiction section without much of a second glance because my heart was for Margaret Atwood. But it wasn't until I had seen the film and then researched about him that I discovered his short stories. Eleven Kinds of Loneliness is brilliant. Yates turns ordinary situations into looking at the human condition with only a few thousand words. "Ordinary into the Extraordinary" was a lesson we were always told at university and Yates shows us that the tutors weren't crazy. I would highly recommend this book for any short story writer or novelist. Yate's book is the best short story collection I have ever read. Its going straight on my re-read list.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

The Accidential Notebook and Other Dilemmas

I am nearing the end of a notebook. One page left and it will be another filled. I like the achievement of finishing notebooks but there is also the fright. What sort of notebook shall I use next, will I be able to write on the pages? The previous notebook (well I didn't even fill half of it but it needed to be shelved) had plain pages and we didn't make friends. I like my uniformed lines unless it separate sheets of plain paper and then I like to write in slopes.

The notebook that is nearly the finishing lines was an accident. Its one of those cheap reporter pads and was meant for making notes at the LBF but on the train journey I started writing a new scene and carried on from there. Because it was a cheap notebook - I didn't feel bad for writing rubbish or ripping out pages. There was a sort of freedom.

I have several choices for the next notebook. A penguin '1984' notebook, a moleskine book (A5 in size, bigger than my normal selection), a notebook with wide lines (i like the small lined books) or buy another reporters pad. I love buying stationery. I could stand in a shop, staring at notebooks for hours. I think about the sort of things it would hold, if its portable for my handbag and train writing, if its durable. No body wants a pad with a paper cover. You need one that lean on. Also I like books with the spiral spine and you can roll over the writing and not worry about editing on the previous section. In the past I have had a pocket Moleskine, a spiral bound notebook, another moleskine rip-off with different coloured pages.

What a writing dilemma.

Maybe road testing each one could be the solution. "Notebook's got talent" coming to a blog near you soon.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

This week's look at the word count is a day late, not because I wanted to up the word count and show off with another billion words written but because I have been ill. That is not the only excuse. Yesterday the urge to write a short story took over and I went for it. 1500 words later and I just need to add a few more details. Usually I sit down, plan the structure, maybe write some longhand. Not this time. My fingers thudded the keyboard most of the day. Its a comedy story set on graduation day. Sometimes you need a bit of comedy to cheer up one's self up on a sick day.

I have written 2,224 words this week for the novel.
Total - 25,806.

I have also organised the files on my Macbook too. Each chapter has its only folder. All that's left to do is merge the several documents I have for each chapter.

Sometimes getting post is more exciting than emails (especially the rejecting type). This week my tickets for Edinburgh Book Festival arrived and the latest Mslexia. Heaven.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Book Binge

Last week I had a book binge. I now have eight new books to get my eyes around. That is also including two new proofs. One is Douglas Coupland's 'Generation A.' I am going to try and read it before Edinburgh in August.
Look at that beautiful stack (and retro carpet - funky!) of books. I like making books like pretty. I think it is the Bookseller part of me.

I have also had a splurge with making some submissions. Some are new stories, some have been sent more than twice and now I am waiting to hear back. One magazine has closed to submissions (I missed the notice on the website - should not trust Duotrope) but I will try when they reopen and another said a story was too long (again, Duotrope).

Since my binge I have felt ill. I currently have a cold (no, its not swine flu) and feel dreadful. I am currently sleeping, reading, watching faceless day time television and sleeping. There has been some writing done too. I am keeping topped up with 'day nurse' and hot blackcurrant.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

o2 are rubbish, LG phones are poorly made and some writing too.

This week I have been doing battle over my LG KT520. My mobile phone is one of those 'stylist' slide phones but my one had literally broken into two (the screws have come loose). Under EU law and mobile phone rights, I have the right to demand they fix the phone for free or replace it as I have only had it for ten months (two year warranty). Apparently 02 (my service provider) is telling me that it is physical damage caused by the user. Tell me, how did I make the screws come out, They aren't even visible! So the company are calling me a liar and keep pushing me to another department. I wrote an email of complaint and customer services have dismissed it and told me to write another. Even one of their call centre staff said I had a case against them.

I have been very upset by this - and now the o2 shop in question (the Stevenage branch) do not know when they will return my broken phone. Thanks a bunch.

If you gave googled about the LG KT520, don't buy it. You should also read the reviews on 02's own site. People have complained about the phone switching off and not coming back on and also messages not deleting. I have also suffered those problems too.

I also have a cold too. I have done some writing in the garden this morning but my concentration is starting to lapse into the sore throat department. I have written 425 words this morning and I still need to read a writing friend's story.

Also I found this website. Text to movie. You can create free films. You just add the dialogue. I thought it would be good when testing out conversations in scenes but I think screenwriters will like it too.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

Even though the heat makes it unbearable to sit in the spare room (Office sounds too grown up), I have still been able to write this week. Either during my lunch break, waiting for the evening train, in bed, on the sofa and the odd occasion, the desk.

Total : 23,564

I have been too focused on the novel to write any more to a short story in progress. But I have entered three competitions and submitted to some other magazines this week.