2013; Here I Come!

Ultimate Blog Challenge

To start off 2013 I have signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  The idea is to blog everyday for the month of January and it kick starts your blog into a new year.

Goals:  to try and stop fretting and worrying less and live more in the present.  This is an ongoing project.  I think I made a bit of progress last year but definitely not enough.

To read more, or at least to read some of the books I’ve been madly buying up and not getting around to reading yet.

I’m planning, rather ambitiously, to write four books this year!  Sounds horrendous I know, but they’re only going to be short books, of a maximum of about forty pages each.  I’m doing one on numerology now (that’s the occult power of numbers), and I have two short books about astrology planned as well.

Then the fourth book is going to be a collaberation with my lovely husband, who loathes all forms of publicity so I won’t mention his name.  He used to be a film journalist for a German film magazine and he interviewed amongst others, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Terence Fisher.  He self published a book himself years ago called The Films of Peter Cushing and I’ve been nagging him for ages to self publish it on Amazon.

He says its too short but then he told me he still had other interviews tucked away with various other Hammer Horror people, so I said that I could type up the interviews and collate it all for him and then I could publish it on Amazon for him under both our names and eventually he has agreed.  All he has to do is remember where he put all these interviews.  You know what it’s like when you put things somewhere safe!

I’m also doing background work on another novel; I’m not sure if I will actually start writing it this year, I might leave it until November and use it for NaNoWriMo, I haven’t decided yet.  I’m doing character sheets and fine tuning the plot at the moment.

Well I think that’s enough for now.  Let me know what you lot are up to because I’m nosy like that!

At last! A ROW80 Check-In!

Well its been a while since I’ve done one of these.  I did do a poem for Morgan’s poetry thing in October every day until the 28th of October and then my inspiration died or my muse took a break or something like that.

I didn’t sign up for NaNoWriMo as I just wanted to finish the novel I was working on already and decided in the end that starting a new one would just distract me too much!

But progress on Emily Swann (my WIP) has continued in fits and starts.  Last week I did about 700 words on three separate days and then took three days off.  Yesterday I did almost one thousand words and today I did about 500 so its not going badly.

The really good news is I’m getting very close to the end!  Ooh, almost finished.  Its both scary and exciting to finish a novel.  Scary because you then have to let people start reading it with all the risks that entails; and exciting because you never know what’s going to happen.  The dream, of course, is that it gets picked up by an agent who loves it who then persuades some publisher to take it and it goes on to become a best seller.  Its happened to other authors so I, being the eternal optimist, believe its capable of happening to me.

But the trouble with me is I dream so big that if the book doesn’t live up to my expectations and everyone doesn’t adore it or it just gets the usual stream of rejections then I’m gutted!  I know I need to develop a thicker skin and that’s something I’m working on (with difficulty!)

Hope everyone else who’s writing is doing well too!

Aargh! Too many writing projects! A ROW80 check-in.

So love this quote!  Well I went on an Arvon Course called Starting To Write Poetry and it was fab-u-lous!  Can’t recommend Arvon courses enough; they are so great!  Wrote a lot of poetry and some of it was even quite good.  But now, goals.

I have started an outline for a play, decided to enter a competition so I need twenty great poems by the end of November, the prize is my collection would get published.  I am about two thirds of the way through my novel Emily Swann plus I have an idea for an young adult fairy tale called The Bear In The Woods which I’m thinking of doing for NaNoWriMo and I have idea for a novel loosely based on the life of Jim Morrison called Dark Star and I want to write a book about Sitting Bull.

Now its fairly obvious that I’m unlikely to complete all of those in this round of ROW so I think I should concentrate on Emily Swann, because it is the project that is closest to being finished.  It makes more sense to do that.  I will try to do the poems for the competition as well but if I don’t make it in time for the deadline then I can always enter them for next year’s competition.

The play is just going to have to wait and so are the other novels.  So my primary goal for this round is to finish Emily Swann.  Anything else is gravy!

Forgot to say that I’m participating in OctPoWriMo as well which involves writing a poem and publishing it on your blog for every day in October.

Good Times, Bad Times

The title of this post is from a song by my favourite band in the universe, Led Zeppelin.  I was tempted to slot in a You-Tube video of them here but I’m not sure about the copyright laws and I don’t want Jimmy Page suing me because he can afford a lot more expensive lawyers than me.

Anyway, I digress.  This was not a great day for me because I got an e-mail this morning telling me I hadn’t made it on to the M.A. course in Creative Writing that I wanted to do.  I was very disappointed and had a good cry but when I’d calmed down I thought ‘sod it!’ and decided to keep going with my novel anyway.

In the interest of accountability I have decided, for now, to post progress on my writing everyday.  No excuse for goofing off then!  I did about five hundred words on Emily Swann today.

I’ve also booked a place on an Arvon course and I’ve decided I will sign up for NaNoWriMo in November as well.  I am a writer and with continuous determination and effort I will become a successful writer.  So there!

Meanwhile back to my favourite band!

Showcase Saturday – The First Page of Emily Swann

Showcase Saturday is where I showcase some of my fiction or poetry.  I decided today to give you the first page of the novel I am currently working on, entitled Emily Swann.  The plot is that Emily, a ten year old girl, is an orphan and heir to her father’s estate.  Her late father was very rich and so the estate involves a lot of money.  But her uncle, Steven Swann, lathough rich in his own right, is a greedy and grasping man and he wants Emily’s money for himself.  The only way he can get it is if Emily is dead.

So he decides to murder Emily so that he can have the money all to himself.  But Emily is not stupid.  She knows what her uncle is like and she guesses what he is up to.  She turns out to be a more formidable opponent than her uncle ever realised.  Will Steven kill Emily?  Will Emily survive and defeat Steven’s evil schemes?  Wait and see!

Emily Swann

Emily Swann was furious and she did not care who knew it.  As a ten year old girl who was short for her age she was used to being ignored but that didn’t mean she had to like it.  Emily had dark curly hair that refused to be tamed by hair pins and had a habit of working loose from any restraints that anyone tried to impose upon it.  Right now it was buzzing around her head like a hive of angry bees.  Her face was pretty rather than beautiful with a nose that turned up at the end and a slightly pointed chin.  Without knocking first she marched straight into her uncle’s study.

“How dare you dismiss my governess!  Bring her back this minute!” she shouted.

Her uncle, Steven Swann looked up from his desk.

“How dare you march in here, you malignant little troll!  Get out!” he yelled back.

“I want my governess back!”

“I would not have that nasty American woman back if she were the last person on earth!  She called me a mean old skinflint!”

“You are a mean old skinflint!”

“Get out!”

“I have to have a governess and I want Marcie!”

“That woman was insubordinate; and she cost too much money.”

“She was my friend; friendship is more important than money.”

Steven picked up the inkstand and threw it at Emily.

“Get out!” he shouted.

The ink had missed its target but a few drops had spattered onto Emily’s dress.

“I hate you,” she shouted as she stormed out slamming the door as loudly as possible because she knew it annoyed him.

ROW80 Check-In 22/02/2012

A middling week; have done about two and a half pages of Emily Swann since Sunday.  It’s not as much as I would like but its better than nothing!  I’m supposed to be doing two pages a day according to my earlier goals.  This is a target I know I can meet easily if I try so I’m reluctant to scale it down.  I don’t know why I’m finding two pages a day so hard at the moment.  I always feel guilty when I hear of other writers working for hours every day because compared to them I seem so lazy!  The most I’ve ever done was during NaNo when I did about two hours/two thousand words a day!  If I did six to seven hours a day at that pace I would have written about ninety novels by now!

Managed the two poems, blogging and writing my diary every day stuff.  Have started reading The Eye in the Door by Pat Barker which is the second part of the Regeneration trilogy.

Think I’m going to have to try to do what Bob Baker suggested (see yesterday’s post) and set aside a regular writing time.  Mornings would never work for me!  But I might be able to do 2-4p.m. most days.  Have to check with lovely hubby and see what he says.

So not much to report I’m afraid.

ROW80 Check-In 12/02/2012

Not the best week ever.  Have done the diary, read two poems and blogged every day but didn’t do a thing for Emily Swann.  I did say I was going to take a break but now wish I hadn’t because I found myself a)missing it and b)feeling guilty.  So next week will be throwing myself right back into it.  I reckon I’m about halfway to two thirds of the way through the second draft which is good.  Still a bit worried about what I see is a fairly slack bit in the middle but I’m going to wait until I get feedback from my trusted reader, otherwise known as lovely hubby before I do anything about that.

I find I worry about stuff but when people read it they don’t even notice what I’ve been fussing about and instead tend to pick up on different things altogether.  Plan to do three drafts before hubby see it.  I never let anyone see my first drafts.

Did start the exercises my life coach Cathy Dean gave me and even worked a bit on the screenplay outline I’m planning on doing for Script Frenzy part of NaNo in April.  Discovered from November’s try that I can’t write without an outline so I’m not making that mistake again.  Reading is progressing slowly as I have actually been watching quite a bit of telly this week, hope to do better on the reading by the next check-in.

Plan to finish the life coach exercises by next Sunday, finish second draft of Emily Swann by St Patrick’s Day (March 17th) and finish outline of screenplay by March 31st.

ROW80 Check-In 16/11/2011

What a smug bitch am I!  Really good news; I’ve finished the first draft of Emily Swann, a full five and a hlaf weeks ahead of schedule!  Feel dead chuffed with myself.  No offense to anyone else but I have discovered that when I write, I must write really quickly because I had no trouble, when I was doing NaNoWriMo, completing 2000 words a day, often doing it between noon and 4pm.  I always used to feel guilty when I read of some writers who were writing for like eight hours a day or something like that.  I very rarely do more that an hour a day so I though I must be the laziest bitch around but my word count keeps climbing up and up so I can’t be doing that badly.

About a month ago I bought ‘Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook’ by Donald Maass, so now I have my first draft I’m going to use this book to help me polish and edit Emily Swann.  I must admit that I hate the editing process, it always smacks of failure to me, like I couldn’t get it right first time.  Silly really.  Another thing that worries me is that, at the moment, Emily Swann is way too short.  It stands at just over 30,000 words.  My first novel, Blood Addiction, was only about 45,000 words.  I can’t believe I’m going to add about 40,000 words in the process of re-writing so it will probably always be a short novel.  That’s another thing that makes me think my work is not good enough because I start to think that if they’re too short it must be because they don’t have depth.  I’m never convinced anything I write is ever good enough though I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this.

ROW80 Check-In 06/11/2011

Achievements for the week: –

Thursday – We were out until about 4pm on Thursday so I only managed 970 words on Dark Nights, Deadly City and nothing on Emily Swann.  Did read my daily poem though.

Friday – Managed 2055 words on DNDC and 300 on Emily Swann plus poem read.

Saturday – 1951 words in DNDC and 0 on ES.  Daily Poem read.

Sunday – 1579 words on DNDC and 0 on ES.  Daily Poem read.

Overview.  Total for Dark Nights, Dirty City stands at 10,499 which puts me about 500 words ahead of where I should be.  It’s not as far ahead as I would like but I mustn’t beat myself up about that because I am still ahead.  I tend to focus on the things I don’t do and not what I do achieve.  Think positive Janet!  Emily Swann is standing at just under 100 sides of paper so it’s nearly 30,000 words.  As expected, with the pressure of the NaNoWriMo thing Emily Swann has suffered a bit but not too badly.  Still managed to do about 17,500 on it since last Sunday.  I’m going to try to aim for 2,000 a week on Emily Swann; which is only about 300 words a day.  I want to stay ahead on DNDC because we have a friend coming over for lunch on Wednesday so I won’t be able to do quite so much on that day.  Have successfully read at least one poem (and usually more) every day.

The main feeling I’m getting from this is that, although sometimes I’m shattered from the mental concentration, the horrible feeling of apathy has left me.  Sometimes I feel I’d rather clean the cooker than write!  My resistance to it can be terrible but if I’ve got anything from this NaNoWriMo thing I think it is that it has shattered my resistance to writing.  The trouble is I’m such a perfectionist in all the wrong ways; it’s not really writer’s block, it’s just fear of writing crap!  And then there’s the ‘what’s the point because no-ones ever going to see it’ attitude to overcome as well.

ROW80 Check-In 02/11/2011

Right, on Monday I read my daily poem and wrote out (by hand) about 600 words of Emily Swann.

Tuesday I started NaNoWriMo.  I even got up early to have plenty of time to get started.  I typed 1936 words of my novel Dark Nights, Dirty City on the first day which, even if I say so myself, was damn good!  Only managed 250 hand written words on Emily Swann but felt so shattered I couldn’t face doing any more.  Did manage to read a poem though.

Today, I typed 2008 words on Dark Nights, Dirty City bringing the grand total to 3944.  Haven’t done anything on Emily Swann yet or read a poem but I’m planning to do that after dinner.  But everything seems to be going well…so far!