Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Month end.

I‘m sure you are all aware, today is the end of NaNo month.  I didn’t do the Writing one, I opted for Peggy’s lesser know Revision month.  I have to admit, it was a brilliant idea of hers. 
WriMo doesn’t really call to me.  It tends to lurk in the shadows and make rude gestures at me when it thinks I’m not looking.  I just don’t have the spare capacity to drop everything and write, no matter how much I would love to.
My goals for RevMo were quite modest compared to a lot of the gang who signed up:
* Do a complete revision of my MS
* Type up the changes (I have to edit on a printed copy, otherwise I can’t keep track.  What can I say, I’m a bloke.)
* Write a synopsis.
Thanks to the support of everyone taking part, I achieved my goals on the 29th.  A day early.  I also found that I needed to insert a chapter, which when I wrote it, turned into two chapters.  I also managed to get these completed by the 29th.
One of the great things with the RevMo gang was that we put the last line we edited for the day into our update mails.  It was so cool, (and sometimes a bit intimidating when you read the awesome lines) and for me, added a little extra to the whole thing.
I just want to say a massive heartfelt THANKYOU to everyone who played along.  You helped me do a hell of a lot more than I would have done without you, and you made me realise that I’m not alone in this writing game!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Writing group update.

I survived my writing group again last week.
Once again, I was expecting a bit of a mauling over the piece that I submitted.  The title had been very uninspiring, and I had struggled to come up with anything vaguely interesting after 2 weeks.
When I did eventually come up with something, the story was soooooo weak, I doubt that it could have fought its way out of a wet paper bag!  I concentrated on giving the character as much depth as possible, and the internal conflict he experienced when he knew that his actions were wrong.
There are 3 people in the group that we all seek a positive responses from.  They are very clever people, and know their stuff.  They aren't nasty, and anything they say is always with the aim of helping you improve, but you still want them to say it was good.
One of them hadn't made it to the meeting, but she did mail a good critique to me.  This left the 2 others.  To my amazement, the first one said that they liked it, and couldn't find anything to fault.  I was beaming quite a lot at this point.  They went around the room, saying that the tension was good etc, it was all positive.
Then I came to the other person I was waiting to hear from.  And..... she liked it too!  She had a few minor comments about his motives, but that was all.
After a month of ripping my WIP to pieces, it was very heartening to be told that I can actually write something half decent :o)

Monday, 28 November 2011

Use it or lose it!

I've been concentrating so hard on revisions for the last month that I've hardly written a word.  Up until now, I've either solely written, or I've done a mix of revising and writing during the day.  I have written every day for the last two years, and the two years before then, I wrote nearly every day.  It's part of my routine, and when I settle down to write, it flows quite easily.
About a week ago, I realised that I needed to add a chapter to my WIP.  I could see the piece of story very clearly, but when I sat down to write it, nothing came out.  It seemed to be a mix of being overly critical of every word I typed, rather than letting it flow, and the words not being there for me to type.  Even my ability to write a blog entry had dried up. 
It's taken over a week to get my head back into the place where it needs to be for things to start to flow.  All the ideas were there, so, I'm guessing that I was lucky that my head didn't explode.
I can only conclude from this, that I need to write every day.

Monday, 21 November 2011

The moment of truth (again)

Tonight is my writing groups monthly meeting.  I have to admit, I'm a lot less nervous about this evening than I was on the previous one.  Obviously, I've submitted a new piece of work to be critiqued, but I don't feel the same anxiety about this piece of work.
I think that it's because I wasn't inspired by the task set:  It's lunch time, and you have no lunch.
It took me a couple of weeks to come up with a suitable story line, which is unusual for me, they are usually queuing up.
Having finally arrived at a story, I mostly concentrated on the weaker areas of my writing.  Namely, making the story active, the structure of the story, and the emotions of the characters. (Basically, everything except the plot.)  It'll be interesting to see how well I actually did in these areas.

This has got me thinking about my writing abilities in general.  I know I've mapped out the next book in the series I have planned, but I'm wondering now, once I've finished polishing the current MS, whether I shouldn't try entering a few competitions instead of launching into the new MS.  It would give me a chance to practice on the weaker areas in smaller doses, and then in the new year, start with the new MS.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

A new direction?

When I started this blog, the idea was that it would follow the various stages of my progress (or lack of) in getting my work into print.
The problem with this, it's not really of much interest to many people.  I'm either writing, or editing.  There's an awful lot of this before I get to a stage where I can send out queries.  Lots of entries saying I've written a little bit more, or I've edited a few pages becomes repetitive, and won't hold your attention for very long.

Maybe it's time for me to reveal a bit about me, and my thought processes.
Watch this space!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Plot dilemma

I have a bit of a dilemma with my plot.  In the third book, it will be revealed that someone is a mole.  This isn't the dilemma by the way, it's just background information.  This is the dilemma bit:
In the first book, the bad guys always seem to be one step ahead of the heroes.  My MC suspects that there's a leak in the system allowing them to find out what the heroes are up to.  Should I let him voice this?  I know it's not ideal for books to finish with loose ends, as they are supposed to be able to stand alone - even when they are part of a series.

While I've been typing this, an answer seems to have popped up.  I could have him voice the doubts, but have the boss tell him that he's being paranoid.

What do you think?  A good solution? Or should I just play down the whole thing until the third book?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

What is it?

It occurred to me earlier that I don't actually know what genre my MS falls under.  Maybe I'm being a bit dense, but although I think I know, I'm not certain.
I know it's a YA contemporary adventure, but the characters have special powers, like invisibility.  Does this make it fantasy as well?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Edit update

There is a bit in my MS (one of many) where I wasn't overly happy with the event that occurred.  The actions weren't fully explained and as it stood, they couldn't be explained.  This morning, I realised that it didn't have to be this way, and when I re-wrote it, I managed to add an innocent seeming cause for the event that will become sharply apparent in the third book I'm planning.  I have to admit, that I'm feeling rather smug at the moment.

Friday, 11 November 2011

You lot are brilliant!

I just wanted to say thank you to all my blogging pals.
This revision game we're all playing has been incredibly inspirational, and without knowing it, you've helped me make mine better.
I realised that there's a plot flaw. 
Well, actually, there isn't a flaw.  And that's the flaw. It's too linear.  No dead ends, or false trails.  My hero works out where the trail leads, and they follow the clues.
I've now got a whole new chapter to write, and probably 2.
THANK YOU!!! :o)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

It's taking over my life!

It's just dawned on me that I think that writing is taking over my life completely.  I seem to be looking at things in two ways:

1) Can it help/inspire my writing?
2) Is it getting in the way of my writing?

When the answer is the second one, I start looking at ways of stopping it from hindering me. 
Is this behaviour a bit too obsessive?

Write it, then fix it.

I'm on a Java Programming course all this week, and although it's given me some extra time to edit my MS, due to the additional journey time, it's meant that any idea I get for a blog post has evaporated by the time I get a chance to write it.  Hence the lack of posts this week.
One of the comments the tutor made today hit a chord with me.  He said that when writing code, you should just write it, and then fix it after.  My immediate thought was it's just like writing. 
But, you guys know this already!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Maybe I am a People Person after all.

In the past week, I've had four strangers start conversations with me.
With London tending to be a very insular place, and people tending to keep to themselves, I initially thought that it must be one of the following:
1) They were mad.
2) I looked so miserable that they felt sorry for me.
3) They were mad.
4) They were friendly sociable people
5) They were barking mad!

In the end, I opted for number 5.  Although number 4 was a close second.
These encounters have set me thinking.  When I was younger, I was well disposed to everyone.  I would pass the time of day with anyone who vaguely looked in my direction.  Unfortunately, I've become a bit too wrapped up in my head these days, and was beginning to think that people were there just to annoy me.  In short, I was well on the way to becoming the original Grumpy Old Man.

But now...

If these people are willing to take a risk and chat to me, then maybe I should be doing the same thing.  How can I write characters with depth, if I stick to the same few close friends, and scowl at everyone else who comes near?

Is it too late in the year to start a New Years Resolution?  From now on, I am a People Person again!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


I signed up for Peggy's NaNoReviMo, and seeing how everyone has responded to the challenge has been fantastic to see.
Some of us have not had the best of starts, while others have exceeded their targets. 
Me?  Well, I'm somewhere in the middle.  I found that getting my head into Editing Mode was a bit of a struggle to start with, but once I got going, it went really well.

Last line edited: T.D. watched the little tendrils of electricity snaking over her unconscious body, before earthing into the floor, seconds later.

Keep up the good work everyone :o)

P.S. Thank you E.D. for the Liebster Award.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

First draft typed up

After a mammoth effort last night, I managed to get the first draft revisions typed up last night.
This means that I can start NaNoReviMo on the 1st after all.
I sat down lunch time, with a freshly printed MS, and decided to give it a read through before I started hacking at it.
I've been feeling very good about the last edit. I saw loads of areas for improvements, and most pages were a mass of scribbles.
Surely this time, it's just be a case of tidying up the odd line here and there.
How wrong was I?
I'm shocked at how much I seemed to have missed the first time.  It's like I haven't done any revisions at all.

After putting the kettle on, and having a large mug of perspective (called tea), I have calmed down a bit.  That's the point of doing multiple revisions isn't it?  So that you keep making it better with each draft.  I think that I may have got carried away in the excitement of finding lots of things to change the first time round.

I know the above sounds quite negative, but I'm actually spurred on by realising that I've learnt some new things in the editing process:
* I can't fix it in one go.
* I need to be patient.  It will be ready when it's ready.  I can't push it out before it's ready, otherwise it'll never get published.
* Even though I've read countless times that it will take several edits before it reaches a passable standard, I never attached it to my own circumstances.
* I can still see improvements, or find better ways of writing lines that will hopefully draw the reader in.