Subscribe by RSS:

Posted on 02 December 2019 10:39

Summary:

Much improved in terms of actual writing done and feeling productive this week, largely due to the support and encouragement of TL;DR Writers!

 

Monday:

After errands in Enfield in the morning, I took myself off to Good and Proper to try and get in a decent stretch of writing before meeting Dave for dinner and the theatre.

I recently joined the TL;DR Writers who have an active and supportive Slack community, so I checked in yesterday with my intentions for the week, and then again this morning to connect with other writers who were also trying to get stuff done today.

I started out with the most important and least appealing project, which was making drafting progress on Beneath the Tree. I have a full scene plan and the whole story in my head, so there was no excuse for not being able to write some of it. I gave myself the target of writing the next two scenes before I was allowed to have lunch. I actually broke for lunch partway through the second scene but did complete it afterwards.

Then I moved on to my Scribophile critiques on Broken Succession. I amended the bits that were easily changed as I went through, and also made notes on bigger edits to be tackled at a later date.

I looked at my editing notes for Colours but it all felt too overwhelming to launch into that, though I did clarify a few first steps to act on later in the week.

Then I started a book that Charlie and Amie from the Six Month Novel Programme sent me, about creating emotional resonance in fiction.

 

Tuesday:

Back to the staple weeknotes entry - I wrote a review!

 

Wednesday:

I completed a new scene for Beneath the Tree and did some Scribophile critiques.

 

Thursday:

I spent the afternoon at Picturehouse Central and completed two more scenes of Beneath the Tree. I also wrote a review.

 

Friday:

I wrote another review.

 

Posted on 24 November 2019 22:11

Summary:

I’ve recorded this week as seven straight writing days, but I’m not sure any of them really count as that, as I’ve only done blog posts, admin and reviews. But I’m recording it that way anyway and vowing to do better next week!

 

Monday:

I found out I’d won a writing competition I entered back in September, with a comedy science-fiction story, written to a specific prompt in a 48-hour window - so that was very satisfying!

I also helped Bear with his post about our latest reading retreat.

 

Tuesday:

I did some scheduling and planning.

 

Wednesday:

I caught up on some reviews.

 

Thursday:

I reviewed the books I read on reading retreat over the weekend.

 

Friday:

More reviews!

 

Saturday:

I did a ton of submissions and tracked and chased a few that have had no response.

I also created a plotting spreadsheet for Beneath the Tree to record the scene plan and track my progress.

Dave and I recorded the next main episode for the podcast and I edited it.

 

Sunday:

I wrote yet another review.

 

Posted on 18 November 2019 17:52

Summary:

Yikes! My writing week apparently dropped off a cliff after two days...

 

Monday:

I got an acceptance for a drabble I submitted recently for an anthology, so I submitted another one to hopefully increase my contribution to three.

I also updated my script for the next main podcast episode.

 

Tuesday:

I went in to Picturehouse Central early, before meeting a friend for lunch. I wrote a couple of reviews and then did some more Scribophile critiques.

 

Posted on 11 November 2019 14:48

Summary:

No writing at all until Thursday, but then I made up for it with four great writing days in a row. Dedicated writing time away from home is always good for me.

 

Thursday:

Big plans for my writing session with Ann.

I started out with a couple of reviews, then wrote my GYWO discussion post for the month. It was a good topic, so I then expanded the post into a possible article for Writing Magazine, before turning back to another planned article and working to bring that one up to the desired word count as well.

I also put together a clear and comprehensive list of all the things I want to work on during my self-directed writing retreat over the weekend and used some Urban Writers Retreat worksheets to schedule my available time.

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

There’s a fantasy story I wrote nearly three years ago and have sent out multiple times for publication. It got shortlisted for an anthology once, it got actually accepted for an online zine once (but I subsequently heard nothing further), and the full manuscript was requested by a magazine based on the first 500 words. So, I knew it was good, despite it never actually seeing the light of day. But, today, on its fifteenth submission, it’s been accepted for a themed anthology. Here’s hoping this is really its moment!

 

Friday:

I made my way to an Airbnb in Maidstone after work, in an effort to focus my mind on writing, rather than being distracted by domestic stuff at home.

By the time I’d had dinner and watched a bit of TV, I was actually raring to get started, so I worked on the scene list for Beneath the Tree for a bit, then broke out my coloured notecards and transferred all the planned scenes onto those. Then I played around with the order until I’d got something that worked.

 

Saturday:

I started early by going through Amie’s developmental edit of Colours and making copious notes about all the bits that need work. Then I addressed all the little specific one-liner amendments.

Next on the schedule was Broken Succession, a short story I started a while ago, which I decided to work on for an upcoming submission opportunity. The structure and arc came together in my head as I was writing the next scene, which was very pleasing.

After lunch, I put fingers to keyboard and actually started writing Beneath the Tree, based on my scene card structure from the night before. I really didn’t feel like it, but I had booked a weekend away specifically to make progress on this story, and I had a schedule to stick to, so I forced myself to get on with it. It was tough going, but I got over 600 words down in an hour and felt pretty good about them overall.

According to the schedule I was then due to come up with ideas for a new short piece for an upcoming submission opportunity, but I thought of an old story that might work, so dug it out and gave it a polish instead.

During the evening, I received publication acceptance for a short story I submitted a while ago, so I reviewed the proofs and sent back confirmation.

 

Sunday:

I ignored the planned schedule this morning and spent a couple of hours completing the first draft of Broken Succession, which gave me quite a sense of achievement. I posted it on Scribophile for feedback.

Later, instead of more writing, I did a couple of Scribophile critiques to get my points back up.

In the evening, I wrote a bit more of Beneath the Tree, then wrote a blog post about my retreat experience.

I also heard from a print magazine that they’re going to print one of my favourite flash fiction pieces in their next edition.

 

Posted on 10 November 2019 17:38

This weekend, I was supposed to be at a two-day writing workshop, which I had booked some time ago and was really looking forward to. I’ve been a bit scattered with my writing since completing the first draft of my second novel over the summer, and I thought I would benefit from some structure and some outside guidance.

 

Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, the workshop was cancelled, leaving me with a completely free weekend to myself, since my husband had already booked a trip to an annual board games convention. I could have enjoyed a lazy, indulgent couple of days at home. But instead, I decided to create my own structure to get some writing done. I know I benefit from scheduled writing sessions out of the flat and from organised writing retreats out of the county. So, I planned my own personal writing retreat.

 

I picked an Airbnb in Maidstone because it’s the other side of London to where I live but close enough that it wouldn’t take long to get there after work on Friday night. It was also very close to a station and within walking distance of the town centre, so it would be easy for me to get supplies. I was originally intending to travel back into work from the Airbnb on the Monday morning, but then everyone was rewarded with an extra day’s holiday where I work, so I booked the Monday off in order to enjoy a relaxed departure.

 

I haven’t been feeling very focused or productive this week, so I was worried that all I would do would be to eat too much and watch TV on my laptop. But, at my writing session on Thursday, I built myself an ambitious writing schedule for the weekend. And, by the time I had arrived at my Maidstone getaway on Friday and had some dinner, I found I was actually keen to get started on my writing.

 

My only complaint about the Airbnb was the lack of a teapot but that was easily rectified by a trip to House of Fraser on Saturday morning, and I actually kept entirely to my schedule for the whole of Saturday, working on four different projects and making significant progress on some stories that have been seriously lagging of late.

 

Sunday was a bit more freeform, since I woke up keen to continue with one particular project, rather than the ones listed on the schedule, so I gave myself permission to diverge from the plan, and actually completed both a longer morning writing session and a first draft. By dinnertime on Sunday, I had achieved more than I expected, if not exactly my stated goals.

 

So, a solo trip away and focused sticking to the plan (in terms of timings if not content) really worked wonders for my productivity! Might I have achieved the same if I had written the same schedule but just stayed at home? Perhaps. But I’m not sure I would have come up with the same plan if I hadn’t made the effort to set aside the weekend as a specific writing retreat and paid good money for accommodation just for that purpose. Maybe I could try a similar thing at home another time, knowing the power for a written schedule.

 

Anyway, I’m very glad I did this, and even more glad that I found the energy and the motivation to make the most of it. Sometimes, a change is better than a rest!

 

 

 

Posted on 03 November 2019 20:45

Summary:

Mostly a break from podcasting this week and progress on the novella. Still just in the planning stages, though, and some further concerted effort required to really get it off the ground. But all progress is good progress and the idea is definitely percolating.

 

Monday:

Amie from the Six Month Novel Programme sent me her editorial comments on Colours, which were both very encouraging and also gave me lots to think about. Luckily, Amie thinks it should be eminently possible for me to deepen and lengthen the story into a proper novel, which is great but also means a lot of work ahead. I read through the notes and set them to percolate in the back of my mind.

 

Tuesday:

I met Hannah after work and we knuckled down to some proper writing for a change! 

I completed the rest of the Six Month Novel boot camp workbooks for Beneath The Tree, which is starting to feel as if it might really become a thing now.

 

Wednesday:

I met Ann for a morning writing session and expanded my plan and outline for Beneath The Tree. I also worked on another article to submit to Writing Magazine and went over my script for the next interim podcast episode.

Later, when I got home, I recorded and edited the interim podcast episode.

 

Thursday:

I wrote a couple of reviews.

 

Saturday:

I finished another book and wrote the review.

 

Posted on 27 October 2019 17:10

Summary:

Some good progress on my novella project, but then the rest of the week was eaten by the podcast again. However, now that’s live and on a regular posting schedule, I should have more time (hopefully) to dedicate to other projects.

 

Monday:

I planned my day to maximise my writing output, heading out to a cafe first thing to put in 2.5 hours of concerted effort before an appointment at the doctor. This fulfilled almost all of my criteria for a successful writing session - out of the flat, with a decent walk either side and an appointment that would keep me from giving up early.

And it worked. I faffed around on the internet for a bit, then wrote a whole raft of reviews, before knuckling down to work on Beneath The Tree. Using the Six Month Novel Programme boot camp materials, I made lots of notes on the characters and had an epiphany about how the story should end, which in turn gave me a basic outline for the whole thing. Huzzah! Still have to actually write it, though - but my path is looking a lot clearer now.

Then I took a break and typed up all the outstanding notes from my current notebook.

 

Thursday:

I wrote my script for the next podcast episode.

 

Friday:

I wrote a couple of reviews.

 

Saturday:

I started off with one of my least favourite writing activities - formatting and submitting. I cleared my list, submitting seven pieces to various places.

I wrote my script for the next interim podcast episode.

 

Sunday:

I edited the podcast episode we recorded yesterday and helped Dave with all the remaining bits and pieces to make the podcast live.

 

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!