Thursday, 24 September 2009


This week I have edited and redrafted a short piece for a flash fiction competition. I originally wrote the piece from a photo prompt on someone's blog and was planning to enter their comp. But the last day came and I planned to send it when I got home but by the time I arrived back from work there was already a winner. hmmm. I still liked the story and I have been playing around with it for a while. Now its had another chance and its ready for the comp. Good luck little story.

I also started writing another flash fiction piece about 'eyebrows'. This was originally a theme fromo Mslexia magazine but the idea got bigger. And I needed more time to think, explore ideas and write.

Planning for the second section of the novel is now done. Now its the writing part.

Overall word count - 50,265

Monday, 21 September 2009

Planning the Second Half

I am going to be honest. I have been dreading this part of the novel. That is why I have left it until now. I have had no clear direction with what I wanted to happen to this character. The last time I tried to write a chapter for character B it went wrong. I stopped writing for a month and even considered sending it all to the recycling bin.

But I conquered the fear. Tonight I have planned the rest of the novel.

I started with writing down all the events that I wanted the second part to have. This technique is called 'spinning down the page' and it is crossed between free writing and brainstorming. New idea for every new line. Then I pulled out my timeline (see picture below - the yellow sticky notes are the 'written' sections) and used this for a reference as I plotted the new events. The white post-it notes underneath are the rest of the story.

I am now looking forward to beginning the second half.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Half Way

I am now half way through the novel (I think this deserves an exclamation mark)! The chapters for Character A's point of view are now ready for editing, reworking, reshuffling and redrafting.
Plus it's back to the planning for Character B's chapters. Things that have been added into section 'A' will need to be considered in the plan. Cause and Effect. (When ever I say those words I always think of that scene in the second Matrix film).

There were times when I thought this would not be possible. Now I can see the ending (having reached it once) and now I am going to push further and get there again with Character B.

Things needed for planning:
  • Post-it notes
  • Scraps of paper for writing down random ideas and sentences
  • Novel Notebook
  • Pen and laptop, of course.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Indulging in Non Fiction

I am currently reading 'Affluenza' by Oliver James. The book examines the world's obsession to 'keep up with the Joneses.' I am about two hundred pages into the book and already I have highlighted sections and made notes on how I can make my characters more real. I am also thinking more about about surroundings, personal history and social status can affect a person's behaviour.

Reading psychology books is a secret passion of mine. I find them a great inspiration for character development. Over the years some of my favourites have been 'Watching the English,' 'Everytown.' And I recently purchased 'Snoop' so I can read about what people's possessions say about individuals.

I take these books at a slower pace and allow myself time to stop, think through the concepts and make notes or highlight sentences for future reference.

I already have several pages on notes for editing and revising the novel.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

Not such a big word count jump this week. I haven't found much time in between personal matters, fighting off this ear, throat and chest infection and being back at work.

Over all word count - 48,539

I hope to reach the half way point over the next week. And then its back to the beginning to write Character B's chapters.

There is also a nice review about Shot Glass Stories - You can read it here.

"‘How to Breathe on the Train’: An intense and vivid depiction of claustrophobia, which throws the reader right into the situation. Not pleasant to read, naturally; but superbly effective writing."
David Hebblethwaite, Follow the Thread

Monday, 14 September 2009

Shot Glass Stories and Other Indulgences

My short story, How to breathe on the train, is now available. I joined an online writer's forum, Critter's Bar and they set a challenge to write a story in 200 words. How to breathe on the train was the result and I was lucky to have it accepted for the anthology.

You can either buy the book for less than five pounds buy here
You can download the file for free.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

Word count Wednesday is back from holiday with a few extras - a chest, ear and throat infection, again.

The writing has not stopped. I did quite a lot on holiday. I finished chapter 10a, started 11a and also finished a short story. I am nearly half way with the novel and that means it will be time to start planning the alternative chapters - I had some ideas when I first started and I have been reading over them today. I also found a page from my notebook with the first line. October 2008. At the time I did not realise it would lead to a novel. I was still mourning over another novel attempt. I remember taking things slowly and I did not finish chapter one until mid January. Four thousand words in three months. But things are moving faster. Because I had a holiday last week - I have written over eight thousand in two weeks.

Overall writing count - 46,809.

Over the next week I hope to finish chapter 11a. Plan the final chapter, 12a and decide now the novel will end for this character.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Back from Edinburgh

‘The Athens of the North’ was great.
Three bus tours of the city. Yes, three, but different double Decker tours – we wanted to make the most of our 24-hour ticket!
Edinburgh Castle.
Walking and walking and walking around the city.
Tour around underground Edinburgh.
Lots of eating in restaurants.
Lots of writing – I finished one chapter, started a new one and finished it today.
More work on short story.
Book festival.
Buying prints from street artists.
And I came home with a souvenir cold too. Two boxes of tissues in two days.

Observations of the Book Festival

Margaret Atwood
Write about things that humans are already working towards could really achieve in the real world – read science and technology news and journals.
Talked about her concern about Bees.
Atwood has started blogging too and Twittering. Something I think all writers should do. Not just for reaching out to audiences but for the actual process of writing.

Douglas Coupland
This was a very special event as it was the first event he was doing for ‘Generation A.’
The audience were asked to perform the ‘The Mobile Sonata’ where you would ring the phone number of the person next to you. Apparently Police said that phones ringing in school bags after the Columbine High school massacre, sounded like tropical birds. It sounded quite like a mob of people playing with their ringtones in a big tent.
Then came the reading from his new novel. I wished I had come with my copy as he did a signing afterwards.
Coupland’s book is about the declining Bee population and Atwood also touched on this. Both were affected by the news from a couple of years ago.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Wordcount Wednesday

I don’t like missing Word count Wednesday (it’s been a good motivation recently) so this is a scheduled post this week while I am on holiday.

There are two possibilities with the word count this week:

A.) I could have written lots and l lots in our holiday cottage and finished a chapter or even written a short story


B.) The word count is still the same because I am having too much fun with looking around the city and relaxing with a book or two.