Subscribe by RSS:

Posted on 20 October 2019 20:25

Summary:

Still not a huge amount of progress on the writing front, despite some scheduled sessions with other people. I’m really struggling to focus for long periods at the moment.

 

Monday:

I watched a film and wrote notes both for a fanfiction challenge and the podcast.

I then wrote my fanfiction for the Space Swap Space Race and my script for the podcast episode.

I caught up on reviews from over the weekend.

 

Wednesday:

I met Hannah after work for a writing session and did some planning for upcoming submission opportunities.

I also wrote a review of the audiobook I finished earlier in the day.

Hannah and I talked about how unfocused we’ve been recently and how our sessions (when they actually happen) mostly just involve chatting about writing and not actually doing any. Previously, this hasn’t been so much of a problem for me because I usually have upwards of an hour to work on stuff before she arrives. But for a couple of the recent ones, I’ve actually cancelled on her and last night I just ate dinner and read my book before we got there. So, we planned ahead for all the sessions we can do between now and the end of November, and made a promise to each other that we’d try harder on supporting each other on the writing front.

 

Thursday:

Today was a writing session with Ann, which is generally much more productive, as they are longer and we are definitely more focused. It also helps that they always take place on my day off so I haven’t had a whole day in the office beforehand.

So, I started off with this month’s GYWO discussion, then went through three old stories to edit them to fit upcoming submission opportunities.

I made some notes for a flash fiction competition and also for some more drabbles.

 

Sunday:

I helped Bear with his latest post.

 

Posted on 13 October 2019 20:39

Summary:

Not a lot of writing this week, despite a resolution to do more focused sessions. Ah well, there’s always next week!

 

Monday:

I was due to meet Geena at Picturehouse Central at 1pm so I went in early with the intention of really getting on with tons of writing stuff that’s been languishing for a while.

I started out by writing my script and compiling my notes for the third main podcast episode, to be recorded in the evening.

Then I lost all focus and didn’t actually achieve anything else. Hey ho.

 

Tuesday:

I edited the third main podcast episode, which we recorded the night before.

 

Wednesday:

I got confirmation that my latest two drabbles have been accepted by Black Hare Press, so I wrote a couple more and submitted them.

I also signed up for the Space Swap Flash Exchange.

 

Sunday:

I did some competition and magazine submissions.

 

Posted on 06 October 2019 16:01

Summary:

Still largely podcast-focused, but I think that’s fine, since it’s a new and exciting project that I’m absolutely loving. Lots of reviews as well, since I read 4 books in less than 48 hours at a family reading retreat over the weekend.

 

Monday:

I edited the second main episode of the podcast. I’m still surprised at how much I enjoy doing this, which is a really good thing as it’s probably the most time intensive part of the process and Dave’s not keen at all.

 

Wednesday:

I finalised the second main podcast episode, then recorded and edited the next interim one.

 

Thursday:

Today I took myself to Picturehouse Central for my first proper writing session in a while. I started out by rereading and expanding a very old story, which I haven’t managed to find a home for, despite positive feedback from a few places. It seemed to fit an upcoming submission opportunity but was a bit too short, so I decided to see if I could add a few words here and there and also improve it a bit as I went along.

Then I wrote a blog post about word count and how story ideas generally have a size and shape they fit into.

 

Sunday:

I caught up on my reviews after an excellent family reading retreat weekend.

 

Posted on 03 October 2019 10:01

Most writing projects, regardless of genre and purpose, will have some kind of restrictions and/or guidance in terms of length. From novels to novellas to novelettes to short stories to flash fiction to drabbles, the categorisation of stories has a lot to do with word count. And, even within these categories, most publishers and competitions will give a range within which they are prepared to accept pieces.

 

Because most of my new work is prompted by upcoming submission opportunities, I usually start a story, knowing roughly how long it needs to be. And, over the years, I’ve developed the ability to plot and plan stories to fit a particular word count.

 

A piece of flash fiction will likely just be one scene, evoking a sense of the wider story but not laying it out in concrete terms. A 2,500 word story will likely follow one series of events from start to finish, tying off loose ends. As stories get longer, they require more characters, additional subplots, more layers of complexity and more comprehensive planning and tracking.

 

It doesn’t always work out so well, though. For example, what was meant to be my second novel has only just topped 50,000 words in its first draft, which is way too short for a novel and actually a bit long for most novellas. So, at the moment, its future is uncertain while I work out whether it can be expanded to novel length or cut down a bit for the novella market.

 

And sometimes, I’ll get an idea, independent of a prompt or often coming out of a workshop, that doesn’t fit neatly into a preconceived format. I’m working on a story at the moment, which has been rattling around in my brain for about three years and has not yet seen the light of day. I first developed it at a writers’ conference, over the course of a weekend of workshop sessions. I’ve always liked it and regularly returned to it over the years, as submission opportunities have come and gone that I thought it might fit. But, even though I have a ton of notes, a rough outline and a set of characters I love, I just can’t seem to write it.

 

Recently, though, a new opportunity presented itself, for a fantasy novella of 20,000 to 40,000 words, with a publisher I like. And something clicked. I think the reason I’ve been having so much trouble with this story is that I’ve been trying to fit it into a box it’s too big for. The scope of the story is larger than I first thought (though not enough to make a novel) and needs more space to develop properly. So, now I’m working on it with a target of a much higher word count and it already feels more possible.

 

Stories have a size and a shape and it’s important to be able to recognise early on the dimensions of those things. Certainly, stories can be expanded or contracted to an extent, but I think they know how big they want to be, and it’s the writer’s job to listen and recognise that. I’m now hopeful that my story will soon be completed, and I’m excited at having something to submit for what sounds like an excellent publication opportunity.

 

Posted on 29 September 2019 20:15

Sunday:

I did a lot more writing than I expected while on holiday. I’m having lots of fun with drabbles, short fanfic and podcast stuff at the moment. Might need to start paying more attention to longer projects soon.

 

Tuesday:

Two new submission opportunities opened up for Black Hare Press drabble anthologies so I wrote and submitted an entry for each.

Then I went back to the first Six Month Novel Programme worksheet and started working on the graveyard ritual story (which is now called Beneath the Tree) with a view to developing it into a novella for another Black Hare Press publication call.

 

Wednesday:

I finished a book and wrote my review. I also wrote a ton of reviews for new games I played earlier in the week. During one of the longer games later in the day, I wrote another two drabbles for the open BHP calls.

 

Thursday:

I updated my submissions spreadsheet, found new opportunities for rejected offerings and tracked my outstanding submissions.

Then I typed up and edited yesterday’s drabbles.

 

Friday:

I wrote the last game review of the holiday. Then I watched the film selected for the second main podcast episode and wrote all my notes for the discussion.

 

Saturday:

I planned the recording and release schedule for the podcast through to the end of the year.

I helped Stanley with his guest post on Bear’s journal.

I typed up my notes for the next main podcast episode.

 

Sunday:

I edited another old fanfic and posted it.

Dave and I recorded the second main podcast episode.

Finally, I wrote and submitted a Fandom Weekly entry.

 

Posted on 23 September 2019 09:05

Summary:

An unexpectedly productive week, which became more so as the days went by. I was especially pleased by a publication acceptance I received on Friday and the fact that I wrote a whole story in one day.

 

Monday:

I recorded another interim podcast and then edited it. My recording is already improving and it took about half the time to edit compared to the previous one, so I think I’ve levelled up on that skill too!

 

Tuesday:

I wrote and submitted an entry for this month’s Press 53 competition.

Then I wrote part of the script for the next interim podcast episode.

Later, I wrote a review of an audiobook.

 

Thursday:

I finished a very interesting book and wrote my review.

 

Friday:

I discovered that Black Hare Press has an open submission for dark speculative novellas (20-40k words) and I had an epiphany that I could develop the short story I’ve been trying to write for about three years. I think the problem I’ve been having is that it has too much to it for a short story, but it’s not really deep enough for a novel, so this seems like a perfect opportunity. I also had the idea of changing the POV character, which instantly made it feel a lot more interesting, so I made some notes and planned to work on it during my upcoming holiday.

I also got an email from the editor of Writing Magazine, saying they now have space for the article I submitted at the start of the year and that it will appear in the November issue, which is very exciting indeed!

I wrote and submitted an entry for Fandom Weekly.

Lastly, I checked for the release of the criteria for the Toasted Cheese Three Cheers and a Tiger short story competition, which requires a sci-fi or fantasy story of under 5000 words on a specified theme, to be written in less than 48 hours. I set my subconscious crew the task of coming up with an idea overnight.

 

Saturday:

The subconscious crew outdid themselves. At 7am, my brain presented me with the start of a story to fit the TCAAT requirements so I got up to write it down before I forgot it. I would perhaps have preferred a bit more sleep on the first night of my holiday, but I’m not really complaining. By the end of the afternoon, I had completed a first draft of the whole story.

 

Sunday:

I worked on my third interim podcast episode script.

I edited the TCAAT story, with help from Dave’s feedback, and submitted it.

I also finished another book and wrote my review.

 

Posted on 15 September 2019 17:48

Summary:

Tons of really fun, exciting and productive work on the podcast this week. After the initial difficulties we had, we’ve now got the equipment and the expertise to produce actual episodes and I can’t wait until we’re ready to release them.

 

Monday:

I started off by writing an entry for the current Fandom Weekly competition.

I did some submissions and some more vampire editing.

I also finally started the Neil Gaiman Masterclass Dave bought me three months ago and completed the first two lessons.

I did a test recording of an interim podcast episode, which allowed me to determine the digital recording doohickey we’ve bought should be fine, but that my current plan for the interim episodes doesn’t include enough content so I’ll have to expand them. I subsequently worked on my first two scripts and made plans for media to revisit for future episodes.

 

Tuesday:

I added to my first interim podcast episode script and did another test recording.

 

Wednesday:

I did a ton more editing on the vampire novel, and also completed my GYWO discussion post for the month.

 

Thursday:

I finished another book and wrote a review of it.

 

Friday:

I edited the first podcast interim episode, added the intro and outro music and tweaked it until I was happy with the sound quality overall. I was very pleased with this evening’s work, as it was fun and produced something I’d be content to release into the world, which is encouraging for the main show.

 

Saturday:

I finished editing the vampire novel and sent all my comments back to its author..

I also edited the first ever Harry Potter fanfic I wrote (over fifteen years ago) and posted it.

Dave and I had tremendous fun recording the first main podcast episode and than I had even more fun editing it and adding the music. So now we have two whole episodes ready to go, which is exciting, and we’re both really looking forward to doing more. It looks like the podcast is actually going to be a thing!

 

Sunday:

I wrote and posted an entry for Fandom Weekly and did some more podcast planning.

 

Posted on 09 September 2019 08:16

A lot of my focus so far this year has been on editing my first novel and finishing the first draft of my second. When I completed both over the summer, I planned to take a break from writing altogether for a few weeks, to recharge and enjoy the lack of deadlines. But what actually happened was that I wrote every day for over two weeks and produced a ton of new stuff.

 

That intensive creativity has dropped off now, and I’ve mostly been writing reviews for the last few weeks, with only bits and pieces of fiction here and there. What I think happened was that, once released from the obligation of working primarily on huge and complex projects, my brain decided to celebrate its freedom by coming up with loads of ideas for little pieces of a kind it hadn’t been able to produce for a while.

 

This coincided with me discovering Black Hare Press and Fantasia Divinity, both small presses that regularly publish collections of drabbles. Given a theme and a required word count of exactly 100 words, I went to town and produced over twenty of these little gems in very short order. I’m subsequently going to be included in four upcoming anthologies.

 

When I’m writing short fiction, I do love a theme and a word count, and I’ve got very good and tailoring ideas to specific lengths. It turns out that crafting a story into exactly 100 words comes quite naturally to me, and it’s tremendous fun.

 

I do now want to start working on some slightly longer stories as well. Finding a middle ground between drabbles and novels would be good! But I’m definitely going to continue producing drabbles when opportunities arise and I’m grateful to have discovered them at the perfect time when I really needed something quick, easy and fun to do after finishing (temporarily) work on the novels.

 

Posted on 08 September 2019 21:25

Summary:

Mostly little bits and pieces this week, though activities did include a fair amount of organising and planning of bigger projects.

 

Monday:

I did some reorganising of my writing projects, to fit upcoming submission opportunities. I also typed up all the notes from my current notebook and read some more of Steal Like An Artist.

I finished my latest book and wrote my review, and also did some more editing of the YA vampire novel someone sent me.

 

Tuesday:

I wrote two interim episodes for the podcast and completed my entry for the Black Hare Press September drabble competition. 

 

Wednesday:

I finished my current audiobook and wrote the review. Then I amended the first chapter of Colours based on comments from my editor.

 

Thursday:

I did a ton more editing on the YA vampire novel.

 

Saturday:

I wrote a lengthy review of an audiobook I didn’t finish.

 

Sunday:

On getting up, I decided I couldn’t be bothered with anything productive today, but then I pulled my blessings and got Persistence, Swiftness and Strength. So, with less than four hours to go before the deadline, I wrote and submitted an entry for this month’s AWC Furious Fiction competition.

 

Posted on 01 September 2019 20:12

Summary:

My awesome motivation levels and resulting productivity have taken a nose-dive this week, But that’s okay. I’m enjoying spending more time on reviews and I’m doing a lot of editing work for other people, which makes an interesting change.

 

Monday:

After ignoring Colours for weeks, I finally got around to editing the first chapter, ready to submit for the conclusion of the Six Month Novel Programme at the weekend.

I finished another book and wrote my review.

 

Wednesday:

And I finished yet another book and wrote my review.

 

Thursday:

I met Ann in our usual spot and did some organising of lists and calendars, then did a Scribophile critique and a couple of reviews.

Someone I met on Scribophile sent me his YA novel to look at last week and I started editing it over the weekend - and it’s really good! So I carried on editing that for a bit.

Then I went back to my Succession brainstorming notes and did some more thinking about the story, before making a start on the first draft. The subconscious crew came through like champions and my vague outline started to take proper shape.

I finished up the session by starting Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, for the current round of GYWO Book Club.

Later in the day, I wrote reviews of a couple of TV shows I've been enjoying recently, and also a book I failed to finish.

 

Sunday:

I helped Bear with is fourth and final Norway post, and submitted the edited first chapter of Colours as the completion of the Six Month Novel Programme.

I did some more editing on both the novels I’ve agreed to review - one on Scribophile and one not.

 

Posted on 26 August 2019 09:03

Summary:

Lots of reviews, rather than actual fiction writing, but at least I’m doing proper, in-depth reviews rather than only a couple of lines. I realised part of the problem was that I was trying to avoid spoilers, so I’ve given up on that now and find I have a lot more to say about stuff.

 

Monday:

I arranged to meet a friend at Good & Proper for lunch and went in early to work on writing stuff beforehand. I brainstormed ideas for an upcoming anthology I want to submit to, using both my fantasy images grid and my story ideas tarot deck. I also did one of my Six Month Novel Programme reader reviews of another writer’s antagonist introduction.

After I got home, I wrote a review of the book I finished on the train.

 

Thursday:

I finished an audiobook and a text book and wrote reviews of them both.

 

Friday:

I watched a documentary and wrote a review for it.

 

Saturday:

I finished another book and wrote my review, and then helped Bear with his third post about Norway.

 

Sunday:

I did some more in depth reviews, one for yesterday’s trip to the ballet and a set for a novella/manga/movie. This brought my completed books to eight in less than two weeks!

I went through my Scribophile critiques for the Prince’s Curse and submitted it for the anthology I wrote it for.

 

Posted on 18 August 2019 17:44

Summary:

Second seven-day writing week in a row - apparently, I’m turning into Stephen King! I completely disagree with his view that you have to write every day to be a “proper” writer, but I’ll go along with my brain’s enthusiasm if that’s what it actually wants to do!

 

Monday:

I went to a highly entertaining Write For Your Life session, run by the lovely Claire. The theme for the evening was sleep and we counted sheep, explored our attitudes towards sleeping, and wrote a letter to our pillow. It was lots of fun and a great way to play around with writing.

 

Tuesday:

I met Hannah after work and started my space opera version of Snow White for an upcoming anthology submission.

 

Wednesday:

I sandwiched a writing session at Picturehouse Central between an osteopathy session and a gaming session. I wrote this month’s GYWO discussion, then finished the first draft of my Snow White story and sent it to Dave for feedback. I ended my session with another drabble for this month's Black Hare Press competition. 

 

Thursday:

I met Ann at Cafe Piazza and spent some time updating and consolidating my projects list. Then I wrote a blog post about developing a podcast. I wrote a couple of reviews and did some critiquing on Scribophile with a view to posting one of my recent stories for feedback. Then I edited an existing story I’ve been trying to get published for some time, so that it would fit the word count of an upcoming competition it’s really well suited for.

After I got home, I watched the first assigned piece of media for the podcast and wrote copious notes for the first episode.

 

Friday:

I did a ton of submissions and also typed up all my notes for the first podcast episode.

 

Saturday:

Dave and I worked on developing the podcast, I did a review and also helped Bear with his second post about Norway.

I also did another couple of critiques on Scribophile and posted a story for feedback once I had enough points.

 

Sunday:

I did some more Scribophile critiquing, posted my antagonist introduction scene to Six Month Novel Programme, and did another couple of submissions.

 

Posted on 15 August 2019 09:38

A few weeks ago, I was talking to Dave one evening and said something that made him laugh a lot. Out of the blue, he said, “We’re really funny. We should do a podcast.” I don’t think he was being serious, but the idea took root in my brain and just would not let go.

 

I kept thinking about it and bringing it up in conversation, but while Dave wasn’t against the idea, we didn’t come up with any concrete plans for a while. Then, last week, while we were in Norway, we started talking about it properly and came up with a concept. We decided we would take turns to make each other watch media we love that the other one dislikes or has no interest in, and then discuss our reactions. I said we should call the show For Better Or Worse.

 

On a whim, I checked Spotify and it turns out there’s already a podcast where a married couple make each other watch media they love that the other one dislikes or had no interest in, and then discuss their reactions. And it’s called For Better Or Worse…

 

Back to the drawing board!

 

In the meantime, I remembered that one of my favourite podcasters, Kristen Meinzer of By The Book, was bringing out a how-to guide called So You Want To Start A Podcast. It was released that same week, so I downloaded the Kindle version and read the whole thing in three days, making copious notes along the way.

 

Amusingly, Kristen says it’s important to know why you want to start a podcast, and that a particularly bad reason is, “because my friend Dave and I are really funny”! Apparently, either Kristen is speaking directly to us in her book, or ‘my friend Dave and I’ are wildly unoriginal in our thought processes… Hey ho.

 

Spurred on by further discussion, excellent advice from Kristen’s book, and my own experience of the format of podcasts I enjoy, I believe we have now established a good plan.

 

In the space of a week, we have developed a concept, a title, and a standard episode outline. I have made show art, found a free-to-use theme tune and written a master script. Dave has purchased microphones and set up both an email and Twitter account for the show. We know what our subject for the first episode is (which I am going to research and make notes on this afternoon) and we’re set to record a test pilot on Saturday!

 

I’m ridiculously excited about the whole thing and have been obsessing over it more than I have about anything in a long time. The amount of thought and effort I’ve put into the project over the last couple of weeks is quite staggering, and I’m really looking forward to getting to grips with the actual recording of an episode.

 

However, I have a feeling that the technology side of things is where our skills and enthusiasm are going to face their greatest test. Achieving good sound quality and editing are probably going to be more difficult and time consuming than we anticipate and the whole project may stall before it really gets going. However, I do have a plan! On a recent reading retreat, I met someone who co-hosts (and produces) an excellent podcast (with amazing sound quality), The Book Club Review - and she has kindly offered to help us out if we run into problems.

 

Despite my over-eagerness, we’re not in a rush to release anything, and Kristen suggests in her book that recording three or four episodes before uploading the first one is a good idea, so you have a buffer in case there are delays in later production. This means that, even if everything goes really well at the weekend, we’re not going to be launching the show for a while. But we’re keen, we have everything in place and we know where to go for help if we need it.

 

So, fingers crossed that our podcast will become a real thing that’s out in the world before the end of the year. Watch this space!

 

Posted on 11 August 2019 17:14

Summary:

Another week where I wasn’t planning on doing much writing, but I ended up doing at least something every day, so my brain is obviously firing on all cylinders!

 

Monday:

I brainstormed a couple of new stories a bit more and looked up an old Hour of Writes entry that could serve as the basis for something longer to fit a submission opportunity.

 

Tuesday:

I did research for both a podcast Dave and I are thinking of doing, and also for an upcoming short story submission.

 

Wednesday:

I came up with a great idea for an upcoming submission opportunity during the night so I wrote extensive notes.

I also wrote some drabbles for a different publication than the usual one.

 

Thursday:

I wrote the script for the podcast Dave and I are developing.

 

Friday:

I wrote some reviews.

 

Saturday:

I tweaked and typed up the proposed script for the podcast.

 

Sunday:

I helped Bear with his first Norway post, reviewed a film and also did some submissions.

 

Posted on 04 August 2019 21:06

Summary:

 

Still feeling more enthused about writing than I expected. Still enjoying getting back to new short pieces after all the time spent on both novels.

 

Monday:

 

I used a tried and tested method of getting some writing done today. I booked a doctor’s appointment at 9:15am and a cinema ticket for 2:20pm and settled myself in a cafe to fill the time in between.

 

I did another Black Hare Press drabble submission, then amended an existing story for a Writing Magazine competition before heading back to drabble land for a different prompt.

 

There’s a story I wrote a while ago, which I love and which got accepted for publication over a year ago. But correspondence with the editor is sporadic and vague. I’ve received and accepted edits, and seen the cover art for the magazine issue with my name listed as a contributor. But I haven’t had a contract, nor have I been paid, nor have I been told the publication schedule. And there’s an upcoming submission opportunity that this story would be perfect for. So, I’ve been thinking about removing it from the first publication and submitting it to the second instead. This morning, though, I had a brainwave - I can very easily take the essential elements but completely rewrite the story without too much effort. I’m going to gender flip it, change the setting and alter a few salient details, to make a whole new story, which means I can keep hoping the first publication will come into being, but still have something to submit to the second, which will better suit their requirements. So I made some notes on my plan.

 

Tuesday:

 

I wrote some reviews.

 

Wednesday:

 

I met Hannah after work and wrote a couple more drabbles. I’m really enjoying these - perhaps a welcome palate cleanser after all the work on the novels so far this year - and I appear to be quite good at them.

 

Then I started the story rewrite for the upcoming submission. I completed a first pass.

 

Sunday:

 

I told Dave about an upcoming submission opportunity and we brainstormed some ideas.





Posted on 28 July 2019 17:05

Summary:

First draft of second novel(la) done! And major progress on a story I’ve been trying to write for about three years. So very happy with my writing this week.

 

Wednesday:

I met Hannah after work, cracked on with Colours and completed the final three scenes to get to the end of the first draft! It’s now a whole thing! Short, but still a thing. And a thing I can now do stuff with. Hurrah!

 

Saturday:

I was going to take the rest of the week off, but I had booked a day’s writing with Out On The Page and didn’t want to cancel at short notice, so decided to go along anyway. It was good to meet other writers and chat about writing experiences. I also completed a pair of linked short stories for a submission opportunity I’d been thinking about, and it was good to get back to short stuff after focusing on the novels for so long.

I dug out an old story to fulfil my prompt for the J/D Ficathon and read through my WIP Big Bang story to ensure it all made sense. Then I wrote a few reviews.

After that, with the whole world of writing at my fingertips and no big projects or hideous deadlines, I went back to the Ritual story I’ve been messing around with for several years and just decided to put words on the page. I accepted it wasn’t going to be the way I envisaged it originally and just went for it, and wrote nearly 2000 words in just over any hour.

 

Sunday:

I posted my WIP Big Bang story. I’m pleased with this one as it’s something that’s been hanging around for a few years, so it was good to finally get it out into the light of day.

 

Posted on 21 July 2019 12:49

Summary:

Very much on the home stretch for the first draft of Colours. I’m looking forward to taking a break from huge projects and working on some smaller stuff for the rest of the year.

 

Monday:

 

I went into town early and ensconced myself at Picturehouse Central with the intention of getting back up to date with the Colours schedule before meeting a friend for lunch. After the subconscious crew had laid out the rest of the outline yesterday, this proved quite easy and I got the next three scenes done very quickly.

 

Tuesday:

 

I went to a useful and informative London Writers' Cafe workshop about showing and telling. 

 

Wednesday:

 

I wrote a review of the film I went to see on Monday. 

 

Thursday:

 

Morning stint at Kahaila on Brick Lane today with Ann.

 

I launched straight into Colours with the idea of getting that out of the way so I could then turn to other things. I bashed out the next three scenes to get back on schedule again. I hit the 50,000 words mark and now only have four more scenes to go!

 

Then I wrote notes for my GYWO discussion post for the month, based on Tuesday’s show/tell workshop. I also brainstormed for an upcoming drabble submission.

 

Sunday:

 

I edited and uploaded my GYWO discussion post. I reviewed two books.

 

I also got an acceptance from an online magazine for one of my stories and recorded an audio version of it to go alongside the published text.

 

Posted on 14 July 2019 20:30

Summary:

The end is definitely in sight for the Colours first draft and I had lots of interesting and useful writing experiences this week.

 

Tuesday:

I met Kate at Highbury Fields and was interviewed for The Book Club Review podcast, then made my way to Canada Water and The Lodge Cafe to use the rest of the day for writing, before a film night at a friend’s house nearby in the evening.

There was a fair amount of faff to begin with until I eventually settled down to write Sunday’s two Colours scenes.

I did this month’s GYWO discussion post, wrote a blog post about the difficulties of first drafts and reviewed the book I finished over lunch, then went back and did the first of today’s two Colours scenes.

Aware of the approaching deadline, I spent some time on my WIP Big Bang story, completing the initial rewrite.

Then I started reading my next writing craft book.

 

Wednesday:

Not enough sleep and lots of effort yesterday left me very unenthused today. But I had arranged to meet Hannah after work so I dutifully turned up and made her my accountability partner, promising that I would complete my scheduled two Colours scenes before being allowed to go home.

The subconscious crew were on fire and had provided me with the bones of the next scene overnight so I ploughed on and completed both scenes with no problem, so then I carried on and did a third to get back on track with my schedule.

 

Thursday:

I wrote a rather pitiful review of a film.

 

Friday:

I wrote another rather pitiful review of a different film.

Then it was off to Mslexicon for the weekend! My workshop today was about Ikigai, the Japanese concept of finding the intersection between what you love, what you’re good at, what you can be rewarded for, and what the world needs. My intersection was on writing and sharing (ideas, life lessons, experiences, stories), which felt right and is encouraging.

 

Saturday:

The morning talk was about plot and pacing and had some useful advice. The afternoon workshop was about concealing rather than revealing, which was also interesting and resulted in me writing the start of a short story I might pursue.

Later, in my room, I wrote the next Colours scene, which was scheduled to be completed on the train yesterday.

 

Sunday:

As I lay in bed this morning, the whole of the rest of Colours suddenly slotted itself together in my head, which was rather wonderful. So I got up and rejigged my outline to fit the new plan, so I wouldn’t forget it.

This morning’s flash fiction workshop mostly made me think that I don’t work hard enough at my flash fiction and that I’m not as good at it as I previously thought. However, I did also write one piece I was really happy with and will submit somewhere - and I also picked up some useful advice on improving my work.

 

Posted on 09 July 2019 13:06

My friend Charlie, who co-runs the Six Month Novel Programme, has a mantra for the writers she helps. When writing a first draft, give yourself permission to be "gloriously craptastic". The most important thing is to get the words down on the page. You can edit later. Because, if you get caught up in doubts, or a desire for unattainable perfection, you’ll never get through it. It’s better to have a flawed thing that exists than a shining masterpiece that only lives in your head.

 

She’s right, of course. But sometimes, taking this approach is easier said than done. At the moment, I’m struggling a bit with the first draft of my second novel. I have a publisher interested in the first one, which is very exciting, and I’ve just sent the latest version of that back to them for a final decision.

 

In the meantime, I’m aiming to complete the first draft of the next one by the end of July, as per the Six Month Novel Programme schedule. But it’s dragging. It’s going to be way too short to be called a novel. The middle section is very saggy. The characters have no idea what they’re doing and I have no idea how to get them to the end. And the ending I have planned feels like a cop-out. I’m treading water, putting down words I don’t think are very good, just to be able to tick a few more scenes off on my checklist.

 

I have so many other things I’d rather be working on. And I’m using the (vital) need for self-care as an excuse not to write.

 

But, while I may not want to write this novel at the moment, I do want it to be written. And the only way that’s going to happen is if I grit my teeth and get the hell on with it. Once the first draft is done, there will be a month of editing boot camp, and I’ll send the first 3000 words off to Amie (Charlie’s partner in crime) for an editorial review. I have a concrete plan for what happens after that. I’ll take a break from the novel, work on other things and then come back to it towards the end of the year. I’ll apply the editing guidance and Amie’s feedback to the rest of the manuscript, and then ask Amie to do a developmental edit of the whole thing. Then I’ll take another break, and schedule coming back to it to apply the further feedback early next year.

 

So, the path is clear. The steps are known. Once I get over the hump and finish the first draft, I can employ external help to figure out what to do with this story. But I have to get the first draft done first. And the only person who can do that is me. So I’d better stop writing blog entries and reviews and get back to it!

 

But what if it’s no good? It’s a first draft - it’s not going to be good. But at least it’ll be there, and I can make it better.

 

Posted on 07 July 2019 17:04

Summary:

Not a huge amount of time, energy or motivation this week, but still some progress. I think sending Artisan off to the publisher last weekend had a knock-on effect on my desire to work hard this week!

 

Monday:

I went to a Write For Your Life workshop, which was wonderful, as always. It was a lot of fun to free-write disposable pieces, instead of worrying about honing novels. I also ended up with one piece I might keep and hone for submission somewhere and spent time with lovely people, some of whom have suggested we meet more regularly, which would be great.

 

Tuesday:

I wrote a book review.

 

Friday:

I got confirmation that three of my five latest drabble submissions had been accepted for publication and I submitted eight more stories to various publications and competitions for consideration.

I completed the next two scenes of Colours, wrote an entry for the AWC Furious Fiction July competition and did a review of a game I played for the first time during the week.

I also went through this month’s Writing Magazine and added new submission opportunities to my rolling spreadsheet.

 

Saturday:

I helped Bear post about our recent trip to Puntcon.

 

Sunday:

I had intended to do a writing session this afternoon but was so exhausted I decided to shift my scheduled writing for today onto Tuesday, when I have a whole day’s session planned.