Sunday, 29 November 2009

On The Road to Writing Recovery

I am a recovering binger. Not an alcoholic one or a drug one, maybe a chocolate one, but definitely a writing one.
In the old days (I am talking about most of my writing time until last year) I would spend one day doing nothing but write. Whole stories, whole plots planned. Go, go,go. I would write until my hand hurt, typed until the words started to blur, ripping out pages until most of the notebook was in a pile on the floor. Then nothing for the better part of a week. I might do a light edit but other than that it was a recovery until the next time. Then another outburst.
Things could not go on like that. I had two failed attempts at writing a novel, several stories half finished, jam packed with cliches and one dimensional characters. I was spending more time having writing fatigue.  I finally found my self blocked, unable to think, unmotivated.
Now I try and sit down at least five evenings each week, maybe a few hours during the weekend and I will write. Smaller chunks than before, bigger chunks if I have a story desperate to be told. My writing has more of a routine. Motivation, determination are my friends. I am fighting any writing block with a punch. Sometimes I need a rest and I take them, promising myself to be back at the desk tomorrow or at least making jottings in the notebook.
I have had the most productive writing year, ever.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Word Count Wednesday

I had a dream last night that I was writing the 'new' Beauty and the Beast. It was going to be set in the modern world, be directed by Tim Burton and have Muse as the soundtrack. Maybe this is my writing head telling me to get back into the screen writing....

Anyway, back to the novel. I am now four chapters away from the end. The doubts are coming thicker and faster. What if I have wasted a whole year writing a silly silly novel? What if I don't like it? Deep breath. Calm. This is a big achievement. A completed novel. Calm. Deep breath.

I want to finish by Christmas. So here goes!

Over all word count - 74,000 ish. I don't have my diary with the word count near me at the moment!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Kind Words Over at the TomLit Blog

Alex over at TomLit has written a lovely review of my flash fiction piece 'The Man Waiting for a Train.'

You can read the review here: Tomlit Review.

Thank you - It means a lot especially as I have just used a microwaveable bowl in the microwave and burnt a hole in it. No cornflake cakes tonight!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Notebook Stories

Writer's Little Helper got a mention over at Notebook Stories the other week. Notebook Stories is a great website about notebook obsession, addicts of the week and general stationery worshipping. It's a great place if you are a stationery geek like me.

The post was about my blog post from the other month when I had new notebook dilemma. I am now currently half way through my A5 sized Moleskin notebook. I normally go for smaller notebooks as I like to carry them around but I won this one via a competition on Twitter. It means I have had to buy a bigger bag but that's no hardship.

Thank you Notebook Stories.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Word count Wednesday

I haven't written as much as I like over the past two weeks. I have been having physio for my headaches at the moment and its leacing me with hardcore pain after the appointments but I am slowly starting to fight back.

I am also currently reading a really good book on short story writing, Short Circuit. I am planning on writing another post on the blog at a later date. Plus I will be hosting (for the first time!) a guest post as well. More details to follow.

I have five more chapters left to write and then the first draft will be finished and the start of editing/redrafting begins. I had a plan the other month that it could be possible to finish the first draft by Christmas but now I am hoping for January. I'm not writing every day to actually meet my self-inflicted deadline. I have the motivation but not the time at the moment. Will try harder.

Overall word count - 72,135

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Man Waiting For a Train at The Pygmy Giant

I have a short piece up at The Pygmy Giant today.

I took the concept of the 'found poem' and wrote this short piece. It is all based on a conversation overheard at a train station one afternoon. The train was late and the character was marching up and down the platform. He had left his laptop unattended on a nearby bench as he had this conversation. Thankfully no one stole it.

I might expand the story one day.

The Man Waiting For a Train

Monday, 9 November 2009

Pay it Forward

Recently Teresa ran Pay it forward on her blog.  She had replied to another blogger and they had replied to another. I replied to Teresa and she sent me some lovely tea-lights, and a handmade card and gift tag from her very crafty friend. (There would be a picture but my camera is nowhere to be seen!). I loved them soo much that I used the candles the same night. The parcel arrived quite unexpectedly one gloomy day at work and really cheered me up!

The idea for Pay it Forward is to send the first three people who comment three small gifts. In return they will do the same.

This reminds me of the film Pay it Forward with the little boy from Sixth Sense doing random acts of kindness.

Now it is my turn. I am really excited about buying these little gifts! I already have some ideas. So its over to you! SO leave a comment in the box!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Visiting Time at FlashShot

I have a very, very short piece up at Flashshot today. Visiting Time is about nuns. This story was originally over 500 words long but then I pruned and then pruned some more until I reached 78 words.

You can read Visting Time here or on FlashShot's homepage. The last ten posts are usually kept on the website so it could disappear in ten days or so. If it does than I will publish it on the blog.

Friday, 6 November 2009


This week has been full of literary delights.
WordPLAY on Tuesday, reading a great book at the moment and also a few exciting things in the pipeline. This includes me doing Pay It Forward in the next week or so. Basically three people will get a present from me and then they will do the same. But more on that in a future post. Also there will be a guest post in December. More details in a future post too!

Actually writing this week has been good but not as much as usual. I wanted to do some last night but a headache saw that session cancelled.

Over all word count for the novel - 67,569.
I am now three quarters of the way!

I also like this post on Angry Robot Book's website - Its about National Novel Writing Month. I especially like the paragraph saying that even 500 words a day is good enough. You are a writer even if you don't complete the task. And writing in one month only does not make you a GOOD writer. Practice does. I like Novel writing month just for the motivation but I tried once when I was a student and failed. Now there is a full time job, other complications - I like the pace I'm writing this novel.

You can read the article here.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

WordPLAY Aftermath

Last night was brilliant.

At first I was worried having looked at the event page on Facebook and saw there were a LOT of people coming. Deep breaths, deep breaths. I thought I might stumble over my words, read the wrong page, stutter like a nervous wreak but a few vodka and cokes and the nerves seemed to evaporate.

I read 'Blood on your Graduation Gown.' Most of the story is based on true events e.g. me getting hit on the nose by a motarboard. Not good. Painful at the time but now a comedic piece of fiction. I got some laughs from the audience which was brilliant! Also the other performers were great too. My groupie My boyfriend had a great time too!

I would definitely recommend reading or even attending the event. The Good Ship in Kilburn is a really nice venue with the stage tucked into a lower level area.

Payment was chocolate and vodka. You can't ask for more really!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Preparing for a Reading - Part Three

WordPlay is Tuesday. Panic. Panic. Panic panic.

Preparation Step Three: Last ditch Attempts

  • Reading through story. Checking for an errors and that it also flows on the tongue.
  • Printing off the manuscript in HUGE font so you can read it tomorrow evening.
  • Planning outfit - flowery dress, cowboy boots and tights. Okay, okay. Planning the outfit was my first thought.
  • Trying not to get nervous or too over the top. Deep breath, it will be fine.
  • REMEMBER to google directions before leaving work tomorrow!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Preparing for a Reading - Part Two

WordPlay is next Tuesday. Major panic.

Preparation Step Two: Making Patrick Bateman* Proud

  • People have recently been asking me where they can read my stories. So I write down my blog link on scraps of paper. Than I thought, having seen other bloggers doing the same - how about Business cards? All the recommendations were for You have full design control. So I did. I went for 'writer' on them because that is what I do, I write. Putting 'Author' on them is not quite true. An author to me is someone with a book published.

I went for pictures of my bookcase and also the name of my blog in scrabble form. I like them. Business cards always remind me of this scene from American Psycho.

  • Tell friends and family. I have sent text messages and also the event invitation to friends on Facebook. Most have declined or not answered. Im not going to badger anyone but just remember that I have been bored (sorry, I mean entertained) at your performances/gigs/concerts so its payback.

  • Also here's the poster for the event:

*Patrick Bateman is the main character from American Psycho.

Watching from the Sidelines at Girls with Insurance

I have a new piece up at Girls with Insurance.

Watching from the Sidelines 

This is one of my more experimental stories. Beginning, Middle and End exist in different places. Its a ghost story but not a scary story.

I wrote this piece for one of my fiction modules in my third year. The original was in ten handmade phamplets plus an instruction book. This story is also special to me as it was the first piece written after my operation. That was the point that I knew that if I wanted to write than it was time for me to pull up my socks and do some writing.