Saturday, 28 August 2010

On Holiday

Today, we are off on holiday and will be heading to Northern Somerset. We will be staying in the pictured cottage. Doesn't it look like something off a postcard? Just looking at the picture makes me feel calm and relaxed and thoughts of work, mortgages and home have started to evaporate.

I have taken these books on holiday and will hopefully finish one or two:
  • K PAX trilogy - I am half way through the second book.
  • Dave Eggers' 'The wild Things' - I won this on Ebay - the seller didn't mention the spine looking like a small child had chewed on the ends. 
  • A proof of David Vann's new book - I won it via Twitter. 
  • Another proof of a non fiction title called 'Don't give up the day job' - the book is about writers and their jobs, before their writing careers. 
  • Hopefully I'll finish 'The Creative Habit' too. 

Lets hope I get some time to go to Cheddar Gauge, play some crazy golf and enjoy some cider!

See you in a week's time :)

P.S. I am taking my winter coat as well.

Friday, 27 August 2010

The Final Countdown

Can't stop for long - high priority editing is happening.

So, this is the 200th post and also the blog's second anniversary! And this could possibly be the shortest blog post ever as well.

Last weekend I set myself a challenge to edit three chapters. I normally manage two. But this weekend I did four chapters and also another chapter's paper edits. This means I am now 10 pages away from finishing this draft.

It is now all hands to the deck to get those ten pages edited before tomorrow as I am off on holiday for a week and I would really like to take away a full MS to work on and also make a start on the Synopsis. So in between working, a meal at my boyfriend's mum's house, frantic packing, finding books to take on holiday and actually breathing - I am going to edit those last few pages.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Finding The Time to Write

Finding the time to write (or edit - which is all I seem to do these days) can be hard. I have a full time job, householdy jobs, dealing with buying a house, preparing for a holiday too. This isn't a 'woe is me' sort of post, no. This is going to be one of posts about finding the time to write.

I find, having my own desk is great motivation for me. I can leave out my notebook, I can leave scribbled chapters in piles and have all my pens sticking out of old mugs. All of my 'stuff' is accessible. I also find crap TV good too - it means there is nothing to lure me into an evening coma. Reading great books is always helpful and films as well. I find having other hobbies can help by having something else to compare with writing. I like cross stitch because once its done, its done. While writing is mostly rewriting.

All my writerly-attention is on the novel at the moment. At first I resisted, wanting to write and edit short stories at the same time but I have found that once I am in editing-mode than there is no point trying to break out.

My new, recent discovered routine is to do the paper edits for chapters during the week. I can sit down with a chapter (or ideally two) in the evening, either at my desk or lounging across the bed, and scribble notes with my mechanical pencil, cross out stupid sentences and hopefully make improvements for the best. I tend to write/edit for around two-ish hours in the evenings. At the weekend I transfer my notes to the Word document.

Teresa, over on her blog recently suggested a technique that I am going to try. She makes a note of the time she spends writing but putting little blocks down to symbolize the time. One little block equals one hour. Click this sentence to read Teresa's post. I am going to try this is see HOW much time I spend on writing/editing. I have a feeling it will be less than first thought.

Editing update - I am only six more chapters away from finishing this edit cycle and then its back to the begin.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Longlisted and More Editing

Big news first! The first 500 words of my novel has been long listed in a novel openings competition. The prize is lunch with an agent. I am really chuffed and good luck to the other long listers too!

The main question was - do I want to read on? I have this question in my head, helping me as I trawl through the different drafts. So it's good to know that my first 500 words can pull the reader into the story.

You can click on this sentence to read the announcement. 

Even if I don't get short listed than at least I will have the motivation to carry on- another kick up the bum is always good.

I have been editing, trying to write an overall synopsis. I know have a two hundred word-ish overview of the novel. The next step is going to be chapter breakdown and trying to get the synopsis to sound enticing and intriguing. I am currently editing chapter sixteen via paper notes and editing chapter fifteen on the screen. So nine more chapters left and I'll be ready for another round of editing.

I also like this article in the Guardian about experimental fiction making a comeback. Say no to the norm!

Experimental fiction: Is it making a comeback?