Archives for posts with tag: writing

It’s not like life suddenly got exciting or anything, far from it. I’m just a complete lazy bones and temporarily forgot that I wrote.

This week I reread Solace in its entirety and didn’t hate all of it! Hey that’s an improvement! The key areas that I need to focus and rewrite is the beginning {pretty mediocre} and the ending {absolute drivel}. The middle section, which I thought was perhaps a bit shaky, turned out to be quite fine and I’ll only have to write a scene in order to make it flow cohesively.

My dreams of having it ready for Christmas will not come to fruition unfortunately. I don’t have the funds to pay for someone to proofread and edit the novel. It’ll be a while away. Which is a shame as I really wanted to have it ready for the Christmas markets, seeing as everyone and their grandmother is getting an e-reader this year.

In other story related news, I’ve written a very short piece on my pirate queen and I absolutely love it. I don’t know if I have it truly in me to write a full length novel of some 100,000 words, but I definitely have a few short stories in me. Always little ideas that are just a scene at a time.

Right, I need to look at my novel seriously by the end of November and do some goddamn editing. Get a move on Missy.

Finally! I started editing Solace today. I think I needed a mental break from it. And also I’ve been volunteering my butt off in a school library, really trying to make an impression. And whilst I have made an impression, it unfortunately hasn’t had the affect where I thought I might be offered a sort of part time job. I’m in dire need of money. My finances havent been this low in a long long time. Ouch.

So I’m going to really try to concentrate now on getting Solace out in time for Christmas. Its been my plan since September, and having finished the novel, I’m looking forward to tweaking it and making it perfect.

Sometimes I think a well needed break from your work is necessary. I just kept staring at the opening lines of my novel, and hating every single word written. Ultimately this was stopping me from moving past the first line and seeing the rest of the novel. But now, its slow progress, but I’m getting there.

I’ve also been working at something else. A pirate novel. But I think I may leave that for NaNoWriMo, which starts on the 1st of November and encourages those ambitious enough to write a novel of 50,000 words in one month. I’ve tried multiple times before to do it, but have never had enough time to complete it. Last year was my best, with some 20,000 words written. Then it all went to hell and back. 

But I’d like to attempt to do it again this year. 

Anyone successfully completed NaNoWriMo before? Or anyone going to do it this year?

 

I’m having a little bit of difficulty at the moment. And of course it’s coming right as I write the last few thousand words of my novel. Typical.

I’ve pictured the ending of my novel for so bloody long now, that as I write it, I cannot for some reason or another write coherently, it’s all coming out as word vomit, and not the good kind either. I don’t know if it’s a case of my brain, saying, “Missy, just put all your ideas out here, then we’ll come back to it later” or if I’ve suddenly just become a goddamn awful writer. Some of the last few sections have been really good, and this vomit at the moment has just been, well, vomit.

It could also be a case of rushing. Although I don’t feel like I’m in a hurry. I’ve given myself a deadline of October 31st to finish writing Solace. This is not taking into account, time for edits, cover work etc. So I’ve still got a number of days ahead of me that will allow me plenty of time to work on the material at hand.

I think I’m just excited to be writing the final closing stages of the book. Because after this, well book 2 has been written for almost years. The majority of it, that is. And i’m itching to get started on that.

Obviously at times like this, it would be amazing to have an editor, to bounce ideas off. This is one of the harder parts of self publishing, the loneliness that accompanies your project. I haven’t established an online presence in relation to my writing, I’ve been so busy with the other side of things, that I thought leaving it until the novel was written would be a better decision. Now I’m slightly regretting it.

It also doesn’t help that the book you’re currently reading, the prose seems to be so effortless. Simple descriptions look like Joycean written passages. Goddamn.

What do you do to combat self doubts and bad writing?

Listening to music has always been important to my writing. Occasionally I’ll need absolute silence to write something important, but generally I’ll have something in the background.

Currently at the moment I’ve been listening a lot to Dario Marianelli’s Jane Eyre OST, it’s melancholic and haunting and fits perfectly in with my current writing mood.

Other favourites include;

-The Piano

-Pride & Prejudice

-Any classical music compilation albums

-The Talented Mr. Ripley

-Drive

-Atonement

{Anything really by Dario Marianelli – he composes the most beautiful pieces of music}

For some reason I can’t write to music that has lyrics, I’m not sure if it’s because I’ll get distracted by the lyrics or just distracted in general, but I tend to stay clear.

So, what do you listen to when you write?

Whilst trying to figure out something poignant to say, I happened to glance out my window and discover the most beautiful sunset happening outside my bedroom window. Naturally my first thought was to document it, rather than savour in the beauty of it. It disappeared after 3 or 4 minutes.

I’m currently in the middle of reading Susan Ee’s Angelfall and there are parts of the book, that I am looking at quite anxiously going, ‘Shit, my character does this thing too. Fuckety fuck.” The only thing that keeps me from ridding the whole damn novel is, Angelfall is a dystopian paranormal YA. Whereas mine is pure paranormal. God I hate that word. Paranormal. It feels icky writing it. When I picture the word paranormal and the connotations behind it, I think, weird, creepy and sad. Whereas that is so far from the truth. I’ve read so much of that genre, just under different guises.

I know my stressing over vague similarities between my book and Susan Ee’s book are ridiculous. And by vague I mean in my book Solace my character Esme drags an angel through the woods after she finds him stabbed. In Angelfall, Penryn lifts the angel into a wheelchair and brings him to safety. I know i’m just being ridiculous and dramatic and flailing all over the place, but it unsettled me for a day or two. Fingers crossed the angel and Penryn don’t fall in love…oh wait…shit.

I’ve written 25,000 words of a novella. A saucy novella. At the time of writing it, it was very PG, and then I had an epiphany a few weeks back. If I added a few sex scenes into the book, it would change it drastically. It might even get more readers. So currently at the moment, that’s what I’m doing, as well as writing my YA novel. It’s a very confusing process!

Currently as it stands, there are 25,000 words. Ideally I’d like to bump it up to 30,000, just to flesh it out. I have the next 2 parts in the series planned. Well. Sort of planned.

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, I’m uncomfortable publishing under my own name. So I’ve decided to come up with a nom de plume {pen name}, or a pseudonym.

It’s proving more difficult than I’d thought possible. The process being, I’ll think of a name, then google it and see if anyone out there are actually called that name. 9/10 the name already exists. More worryingly they always seem to be a burgeoning singer with a MySpace account {that still exists???!?!}.

And of course me being me, is more preoccupied with creating a pen name and choosing a cover design than actually rewriting the story. Typical. 

But excitingly, it’s my birthday on Friday of this week, and I think I’m going to splurge on a MacBook Pro. I’ve had my current MacBook for 5 years, and it’s a great thing, but sadly it’s far too slow and drives me insane. I also need to purchase Scrivener, which I’ve been using on a trial basis and it is blooming fantastic. I highly recommend it, if you like to be organised and keep all your documents, writing and research in one place.

On Sunday I attended a workshop conducted by Oisin McGann, wearing a ‘Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel’ t-shirt. It was workshop for those interested in writing for children and it was absolutely phenomonal. I remember sitting there, scribbling notes and trying to take it all in, secretly wishing it was 3 hours longer. I haven’t met anyone like that before, who was able to dispense really good solid advice. Absolutely brilliant. AND it only cost €25 too! For 3 hours of brilliance. And it ran over by 30 minutes too.

I have reams and reams of notes that I took down from it, I apologize if this doesn’t necessarily flow well. I’ll do my best to make it as cohesive as possible.

Again, like the Independent Publishing seminar, we started off talking about the Cover – this is where it all starts. If you can attract your reader by having a fantastic cover, you’ve already won half the battle. The point of the cover is to attract them, then hopefully they will turn over and read the blurb on the book, then the 1st line on the page and so on and so forth.

The 3 crucial points to any good story are the  3 P’s: 

1. People – Characters/Life/Personality

2. Place – Setting/Location for the story

3. Problem – to make it interesting. It’s a challenge for your characters to overcome

The location and the people are linked. The location in some stories is a factor the main character, it’s the geography they know extremely well, they know the backstreets and alleyways, they know where to get a pizza at 5am. The problem could be, that the characters have suddenly been dropped into a territory that they aren’t familiar eg. Kid wakes up on Mars etc.

The thing with story telling is, we want to see our characters at their most extraordinary. We want to meet the characters on their most challenged day of their lives. Think Katniss on Reaping Day in the Hunger Games. Think of any of the Harry Potters.

Character:

We want a character that we can empathise with, someone with whom reawakens feelings and makes us care for them. We want to be concerned about our protagonists should something happen to them. For plot driven books, readers don’t empathise with the main characters, instead we focus our attentions on the plot around them which is driving rapidly forward.

In order to develop a character, and to make them human, look around at the people surrounding you. Take traits from them, such as the friend who sucks her thumb and twirls her hair when she gets tired, or the friend who makes awkward situations funny and brilliant by breaking the ice with terrible jokes. Look around you and insert real life situations from the people you’ve met.

Show don’ts tell. If a secondary character is nearby, get the main character to tell the secondary characters their feelings, rather than letting the main characters thoughts take over the scene. It becomes more human.

Place:

Keep the pace of the plot going, think of it almost as if there is a film crew following your main character through the room etc. Yet keep the description and action going. Observe  in real life, look at your environment and pick up on the little things that you’ve never noticed before. The environment is a very handy tool for plot development, it affects the behaviour of the character etc. However make it grounded, so that the environment feels real to the readers. This makes it relatable for the readers. Don’t delve into an imaginary world, leaving the readers bewildered.

Plot/Problem:

Pose a question….and then answer it. This is the stripped down version of how to write a story. Leave a trail of crumbs for your readers to follow by dropping hints and clues along the way.

There are 10 steps to a formulaic plot.  

1. Start off with a bang {a dramatic scene – heighten the emotions}.

2. Slow down, introduce characters and setting.

3. Establish the main problem.

4. Make a plan {Make the character involved in the action, if they stand back, they will be less involved and the story won’t be interesting}.

5. The plan goes wrong.

6. Have to improvise.

7. Will they succeed?

8. All is about to be lost!

9. They succeed! Or Fail!

10. Wrap it up. The readers should want more, but be glad that it is resolved.

And that wrapped up the workshop. Oisin then went over a little bit on cover writing, advances, the market etc. It was fantastic and I left with a big grin on my face. If you get the opportunity and want to write for children, I highly recommend any workshop he conducts in the near future.

Phew. I suppose I should get back to writing now! Make my own stamp on the YA world.

 

I had a light bulb moment last night. However its a light bulb moment that makes me slightly, uneasy? I’m not sure that’s the correct definition of what I’m feeling.

I wrote a story, well the beginning of a story, some 20,000 words when I was living in the middle of nowhere in Australia in 2009. Writing this story saved my sanity. This town I was living in, was absolutely horrendous. Nothing to see, nothing to do, no one to speak to. It was a town of misery. Every evening I would write and the words would just spill out.

Then things happened, traveling resumed and the story lay forgotten. I’d come back to it every so often, thinking of how to progress it, but ultimately I’d get distracted by a pretty picture of Ryan Gosling, or something E!.

Then last night, whilst procrastinating {Surprise!}, I read a small excerpt of it and instantly knew what to do with it. It needed some really sexy, rip your clothes off hot, sex scenes. Up to that point it had been very PG. I wrote a 500 word sex scene and steam was almost sizzling off my finger tips it was that hot.

I plan on rewriting whole sections of it, but my concern, is…Well I’m embarrassed. I don’t find writing the sex scenes embarrassing. But I would be mortified to explain to my boss or a friend of my mothers of my what exactly I was writing.

It’s a ridiculous reason, but it genuinely makes me squirm when I think of saying those words out loud “I write erotic fiction.” Kill me now! Where is the hole to swallow me up? My cheeks are even burning up thinking of saying those words out loud. I’m not taking away anything from erotic writers, I envy those who wear their badge loud and proud.

As I said it was light bulb moment for, as I spent a lot of time reading about self publishing, and you only have to look at 50 Shades, to see that as a genre, erotic fiction is currently exploding. I may as well dip my toes into the lust scented water and see what it can offer me in return.