Posts Tagged Writing
You may recall that at the beginning of the month, I was kinda keeping up, only behind by a few hundred words, not concerned in the slightest about finishing ….
Yeah, that was before I fell ill. And when I say ill, I mean ill. Because the Mini-Me kindly shared her viral infection, and I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so slamdunked by one before. I mean, dude, I slept (what felt like) permanently for pretty much two weeks. Felt like I had narcolepsy, or something, ya know. Most days, I didn’t even get around to switching my laptop on, and ended up staying in touch using my mobile, because the screen hurt my head, hurt my eyes. Three weeks on, and I’m still trying to shake off the tenacious cough and the horrible and random swelling which keeps happening to my throat and the only way to tamp it down is by gargling on tea tree oil.
And damn, this blog post feels like I’m downright feeling sorry for myself. Well, okay, I was when I just kept passing out and Mr B thought he’d married a coma patient, but now I’m just kinda mad that it f****d with my plans. Because I had two editing jobs I’d taken on right before NaNo started, too, which meant that those have had to take priority (they had/have deadlines, after all) over getting back into the writing saddle now my head has quit wobbly at every opportunity.
So, no, I didn’t ‘win’ at NaNo. I pretty much crashed and burned (see word count in sidebar) with engines flailing and sputtering and a whole big-a$$ explosion on hitting enough dirt it all sprayed up my nostrils and clogged my sorry hide (too much?).
However, I’m officially making December and January MINE! They are MY MONTHS! And I shall be getting back into writing just as soon as I have my last editing job packaged and sealed and sent back to its creator. Holloway Pack 4 will be written even if I have to freakin’ well grab a voice program to do it!
Okay, forget about my crappy result. How did everyone else get on? I noticed a few of my buddies absolutely SMASHED it! Spill the beans.
Oh, and if you like, you can head over to Bookaholics Book Club today, where I’m guest posting for UK Appreciation Month about my favourite UK music and you can enter for a chance to win Darkness & Light.
Happy Friday, folks.
Good (Sunday) afternoon, and welcome to my second check-in post for the marvellous NaNo month of November.
Last week, if you recall, I’d managed to stay on track after a slightly rocky beginning.
This week ….
Yeah, that dive-bomb sound you hear, followed by explosions?
That’ll be me and my pretty unimpressive progress.
So, how did I do, you ask?
Well, before I tell you that, let me just take a mo to fill you with my
pathetic excuses reasons as to why I haven’t met the mark.
1) My doc gave me some new meds to try, which I started taking on the first day of NaNo. By day three, tiredness (one of the side effects) kicked in. By day 5, I’d turned into the walking dead. By yesterday, Mr B was living with a coma patient who pretty much only replied to any questions with grunts. Needless to say, it finally clicked yesterday that it was the meds making me feel so exhausted and not the
excuse reason I come up with for number 2, so I’ve stopped taking them. Let’s see if the situation picks up.
2) On Wednesday, Mr B came home with the Christmas present we’d decided to buy us all as a family. Said Christmas happens to be a puppy. Said puppy is like having a newborn baby in the house and a night-time sleep/cuddle/pee/play/sleep routine has had to be established. A routine also had to be figured out for the daytime, so I could have my hands free for periods of time instead of feeling the need to cuddle this bundle of beautimous joy 24/7. O_o I’m getting there. This, too, should be getting better over the upcoming days.
3) ………………….. Um, yeah, I don’t really have a reason #3. :\
So, all these
pathetic excuses reasons aside, how did I do?
Well, when I checked in last week, my count was at 5464, with the rest of the day ahead of me.
At the end of day 11, it should be 18337.
In reality, at the end of day 11, my word count is actually: 13574.
1) since last week, I’ve added 8110 words to my NaNo count
2) I’m now 4763 words behind.
But I’m not beat yet.
I’m gonna keep on keeping on.
And I’ll let y’all know next week how that’s working out for me.
So, how’s everyone else doing?
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would do it.
In April, I so wasn’t going to.
In August, when asked, my response was a ‘hell, no!’
But when I reached September and October, I started thinking a little harder about it.
Because, due to having to deal with one issue after another in my personal life, I feel like I’ve been stuck in a twisted track of Dominoes, in which the pieces never run out. Seriously. Due to this, my writing schedule has suffered. Big time. I planned to have Holloway Pack #4 all written and sent off at this point in the year, and be in the beginnings of giving my first YA a go. Alas, I’m only a third through HP4, and writing a YA seems a million miles away.
So, I’ve decided to use NaNo to give me a much needed shove.
Sure, last year I didn’t ‘win’. BUT, the push from doing NaNo resulted in Caged being completed at first draft, as well as Eternal—two that might have taken me longer otherwise—so I still considered it a personal win.
And I’m hoping for a similar result this year. Even if I don’t cross the finish line with my expected 50k, and even if I reach the end of November and Holloway Pack 4 isn’t quite done, so long as I’ve pulled my head out of its state of static-ness and added words to my WIP, I’ll be a happy bunny.
So, I shall be around and about a little during November. But I’m going to try to avoid the social network sites a little and spend less time on those than I currently do. Also, most of my blog posts will likely be updates on my NaNo progress—though there is a word count widget in my yonder sidebar ==>>>> for anyone who wants to keep track.
And to any of you guys out there who live local enough to have actual conversations with me or see me in real life? Yeah, warning: my phones will be off. You may even find a ‘do not disturb’ sign hanging on my front door.
See you all on the other side, but be sure to check back tomorrow to find how three totally and utterly insane authors will be upping the ante to make the experience more interesting.
Aaaaaaaaaand, I can’t possibly go without saying …
Like my ghosts?
Now, if you recall, last year I was kinda on the ball and knocked out an Ethan Holloway short story for you all for Halloween. Unfortunately, my life has been pretty crazy for months now, which means I just haven’t managed to do the same for you this year. Sorry.
However, for any who didn’t catch the short story, Halloween Hunting, last year, here’s a link for y’all to check it now: http://www.jabelfield.com/uploads/6/4/9/5/6495340/halloween_hunting.pdf
If you’re going trick or treating, stay warm and, most importantly, stay safe.
If you’re going fancy-dress-partying, I hope you have a heap load of fun.
So, who else is NaNo’ing this year?
I think most of you read my earlier post (August 15th) and already know what I’m referring to, so I’ll just dive right in.
I’ve received a date to head back to the hospital for my second round of skin surgery.
That date is … today.
Initially, I had an appointment to return on Saturday gone but it was rescheduled by the hospital for today.
Which means, as of this afternoon, I shall most likely be somewhat out of commission for a little while.
The Macmillan nurse I spoke to has already warned me the next round of surgery will take longer to recover from.
To be honest, I’m not too sure how well I’ll cope with that as it drove me nuts not being able to write for one week the last time.
I guess we’ll see.
Though I also guess that, just like last time, my stubborn a$$ will suck up the pain for intermittent intervals just so I can send out the occasional social networking waffle—coz I can’t seem to help myself. Besides, better to have a slightly aching arm, than withdrawal symptoms on top of a slightly aching arm.
Okay, okay, I’ll try to be good.
Now, because I’m not going to be able to type more than a tweet at a time (heh), I’m not going to be writing many blog posts. That being said, I do have a few posts already scheduled to air over the next couple of weeks or so. However, for a little while, my post regularity will be dropping to a maximum of one per week (unless something special’s going on)—because even once I get the use of my arm back again, my priority will be on catching up on my writing over catching up in here.
The posts I’ve pre-scheduled, though, are fairly important ones (to me), so I really hope you’ll still pop along to take a butchers. And I hope you’ll still comment (and not get peeved if I don’t respond to you all right away), because it would mean a lot.
And I think that’s it on The ‘C’ Word.
On other news, I have a couple of busy weeks coming up: the Mini-Me has headed off to her first day of senior school today (aaaarrrgh!) and The Boy starts back to school tomorrow (which makes my arm business even more of a bummer, not being able to write when I finally get the house back to myself), and (yippee) Mr B is figuring out plans for the first weekend of September to celebrate my birthday, which falls on the 10th (I just happen to have a cool post set for then). Oh, and please drop in for Aimee Laine’s Surrender tour stop tomorrow (the 5th).
So, what’s everyone else got going on right now?
As a British author, who writes novels/stories set in England, with English characters, it comes naturally to me to use British words or terms. But what affect can that have on how a book is received when the reach of its readership is on a global scale?
I would like to be able to argue that it has no affect but I’d be lying if I did so—especially when the use of certain words (ones quite valid in the Oxford English Dictionary) are pointed out in reviews or in direct conversation by folk who have read my stuff.
Yep, I’m talking about those dreaded ‘st’ sounds on the ends of words.
Primarily, it’s adding to while to create whilst (though I could argue everyone else dropped it rather than us adding it), or amongst over among/amidst over amid.
It seems (some of) my International readers have a real issue with these words stumbling their flow.
Whilst (ha!) the reviewers who bring this up are in the minority, I can’t ignore a tweet I spotted from an author whose work I’ve had the chance to view and loved, citing her dislike (translate: hate) of the word ‘whilst’ (and if she calls in here, she’ll know I’m talking about her, and will likely throw shoes at me across the pond—eeek!).
Anyhoo, although her tweet was (seemingly) random and was not in reference to my work, it still got me to thinking about my own personal use of it. It also led to a debate with my publisher.
In case you’re wondering, it’s a debate I lost.
You see, whilst (hehehe) all Holloway Pack stories written from Jem’s POV use this word, as do the shorter works written from Sean’s POV (and my short for the Make Believe antho: Escort to Insanity), I argued that not ALL Brits add on the ‘st’ sound and speak this way.
I’ll admit, I initially wrote all of Jem’s dialogue/narration with this/these words included because that is how I speak, so it came naturally to me for my character to speak this way, also. And I’m hardly alone—many other Brits speak this way, despite one reviewer asking if ‘whilst’ was even a word. O_O
But my argument to my editor went along the lines of
‘How about if we switch it up for the male members of the pack, seeing as they sound a little less refined than Jem anyway?’
to which the final response was
And the bits in the between consisted of
‘You need to stay true to who you are as a writer, true to who your characters are, and true to the setting of your stories.’
So, it would seem the word ‘whilst’ will be staying.
Obviously, authors research. Even if it’s only to double check if a certain style of shoe was worn during the 1800’s (for example). It’s the research and accuracy of details that add credence to an otherwise fabricated tale.
But what happens when aspects of a book an author is asking the reader to accept are something that can’t be researched?
Or would be nobody’s business if they had been researched?
I bring this up only because of certain comments I’ve seen dotted about the ‘Net.
For the first kind, I’ll refer to a Tweet and blog post I spotted by a well known author, who felt the need to state for the record that just because she writes urban fantasy with characters who can do stuff beyond what is considered ‘normal’ for our population (NB: this is not an exact quote), that does not mean she believes herself to be superhuman.
I concur. My books are all about werewolves. Trust me: I don’t actually turn into one myself. Not on week days, anyway. ;o)
Now … how about for the second kind? It’s a constant dispute I see from those who write what I like to call romp-romance: That just because they write erotica with X-rated scenes, does not mean they lead that kind of wanton life themselves.
This second one is even harder to judge. Right? I mean, just because a writer has written this awesome scene of sexual fantasy doesn’t necessarily mean they have actually BTDT. Right? Not convinced? Okay, what about all those female erotica authors who write M/M? No way on earth could they have made that kind of research on a personal level. You following me?
So how much does the fact that these elements have to be fabricated and not be based on fact compromise the story?
Yes, yes, I know werewolves can be researched. But not on your nelly can one research the process of a werewolf Change. OR the sensations one must endure to alter their physical structure by that amount. So we have no choice but to make it up. See?
Just as the (to keep my reasoning solid) latter mentioned for the romp-rom writers. No woman can ever fully understand how it feels to a man during intercourse, just as a man could never grasp the experience through a woman’s eyes. They would have only verbal or visual research for guidance.
But should, really, these writers actually be concerned by such comments that have incited these responses?
Or should they be flattered?
Surely, for the reader to believe the author had to have experienced these acts themselves should mean the author has done a bang up job in their portrayal of them.
What are your thoughts on author research? How far do YOU think they should go? Or is majority-fabrication acceptable so long as it’s done well?
Or music combined with any other task, for that matter.
This is one of those combinations that either works awesome for you … or flat-out doesn’t. You can either listen to tunes whilst pondering your next scene (or task), or what should be pleasurable to absorb sounds on par with a swarm of irritating insects when you’re trying to concentrate.
Then there’s me.
I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. Sometimes, I have days in a row where I fire up my media player (see image) as I open my Word document. Other times, I might not listen to music for days. On the occasions I do, anyone in (VERY) close proximity will hear me warbling away to Kings of Leon’s ‘Closer’, then killing The Kooks ‘Naïve’, and then my most awful rendition of Adele’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’.
That’s only three songs out of a *playlist of twenty-eight. Only three songs before my mind becomes wholly consumed by the words on the page in front of me. Three songs before I am lost in a scene. And that’s whether I’m writing, editing, or proofreading—it’s ALWAYS the same number of songs.
I can most probably list most of the other songs I have on my play list. But the moment the tunnel vision kicks in and the deep state of zombification stakes claim, I no longer hear them.
So … what about you? To music … or not to music? What’s on your playlist?
KoL, Closer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XatzX6WQ2ec
The Kooks, Naïve: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkaMiaRLgvY&ob=av2e
Adele, Make you feel …: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fnn9JlqqTE4
Tom Jones, Burning down …: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYuFIrSLD84
KoL, Cold Desert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWkYu-hYTZs
Pink, I Don’t Believe You: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26EP0ght2kI&ob=av3e
Black Eyed Peas, I Got a Feeling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tiPAvmy3eA
David Gray, This Year’s Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gNDUZZduKE
Tom Jones, Sex Bomb: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KUJE2xs-RE
Adele, Chasing Pavements: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwTMyjTNBM8
Alanis Morisette, Ironic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jne9t8sHpUc&ob=av2e
David Gray, You’re the World: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDstr09NJ5U
The Kooks, Seaside: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8OLb1DK9HY
KoL, Revelry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sA85wMC16A
Alanis Morissette, You Learn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ci5j9yQ-528
Adele, Someone Like You: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AW9C3-qWug
Tom Jones, Kiss: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aq3Vx28wG7Y
Johhny Cash, Folson Prison Blues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr0Vt7E7U7w&ob=av2n
The Hoosiers, Worried About Ray: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61GrbjeNc1E&ob=av2e
Tom Jones: Baby, it’s Cold …: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PceqPkTdYgA
KoL, Sex on Fire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUAmgkDqxTk
David Gray, Be Mine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feE9OQoEzqA
Suzanne Vega, Luka: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m9EWNDq9hw
Alanis Morissette, Head Over Feet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKnz3kAwRu8
KoL, Use Somebody: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRgFeZa_I48
And Tom Jones/Robbie, Full Monty Medley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXsBGPorTIY wraps it up nicely.
Though the sadness of this is that too many new writers are unaware of it.
Since I signed my first contract earlier this year, I’ve had more and more aspiring writers come to me, asking for advice and guidance on the industry.
Should they go the agent route? Or should they just submit direct to publishers?
Should they even bother with the publishers? Or should they self-publish?
The point isn’t what I think they should do—because only they can decide what’s right for them.
The point I do always try to get across to them, though, is that, whichever path they decide to follow, they need to make sure they have all the facts beforehand so they can ensure they make their decisions with eyes wide open.
Too many today still believe they don’t need to understand the first thing about the publishing industry or how to market their novel—so long as they can just procure an agent or convince some publisher to take them on then all the hard work will be done for them.
Um … this, to me, screams of laziness. I’m sorry, but it does.
Yes, ideally, it would be awesome to just hand over your work to someone else to take care of whilst you just sit back down and concentrate solely on writing … but … why would you want to?
You’ve spent months—some people, years—creating your masterpiece. Why the heck would you not want to see it through to the end? Why would you spend months and months polishing it until your eyes bleed if you plan to give it up at the point where you could get to see what Joe Public think of it? Why would you not WANT to play a part in it getting into as many readers homes as possible?
That’s all part of the achievement, right? Isn’t that what you invested your time, blood, sweat and tears for?
But … you’re right … in order to do that some education on the matter would be required.
And that’s where people hit a brick wall.
So many tell me they don’t know where to look for information.
More likely, they don’t know the information is out there, or what the information is, so they’re looking in all the wrong places and at all the wrong things.
So … I thought I’d put together a compilation of blogs I find helpful—either for writing tips, time management tips, marketing tips, or social media relevant to writer’s advice—and share it … with you.
1) Top of my list: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/
Kristen Lamb KNOWS what she’s talking about. It’s not about marketing your book so much as marketing your brand—YOU! Your name! The title you hope your readers will forever associate with YOU! Follow her blog. Listen to her. She makes sense.
A blog written by some dude called Eric who works in a sales department of a publishing house (sorry, Eric, for the crap summary). You can learn some interesting stuff on there.
Nathan Bransford. I’ve learnt a lot from reading his blog—like the basics of writing a query or logline. Although he now talks more about his own writing experience (since he became a published author) than about the industry, links to all the real useful stuff can still be found in the left sidebar of his blog (though he does still come out with interesting stuff, too).
There are often decent writing tips on this blog. Subscribe. Check ‘em out.
A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing as written by author Joe Konrath.
The Passive Voice, where they talk about change in the publishing industry—whether for better or worse.
Marketing Tips for Authors. Speaks for itself, right?
I’ve read some decent posts on the blog of Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Go check her out. Do it!
The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing is a great resource for those who’re thinking of going it alone—and has good information for those who aren’t, too. Follow them. Get their updated posts.
10) And for those of you interested in following someone who has successfully self-published, consider: http://ljsellers.com/wordpress/
There you go! Although this barely covers all of them out there, this is my list of blogs I like to check out.
Hopefully, someone will get some use out of them.
How about you? What are your favourite blogs for advice? Do you have any you could add to this list?
Cheers for reading.
I received a letter in the post yesterday.
On the front it said: Parent/Guardian of Mini-Me* Belfield. Across the top it read: Young Writers.
I thought What’s this, then? and without further ado, ripped open the envelope, pulled out some papers, and started reading.
Recently, Mini-Me’s school … submitted some of their pupils’ work for Young Writers’ Mini Sagas competition. For this exciting competition, pupils were asked to write a mini saga on a theme that inspired them, with the added challenged of using 50 words or less.
Now, I remember said mini saga well. Mini-Me came home with the story to write as homework and told me he’d been set an ‘impossible’ task.
I told him ‘fiddlesticks’. Nothing is impossible in the world of writing. It’s the authors right to make anything happen that they so choose.
“But I can’t do it,” he’d said. “They want a setting, a character, and action … with FIFTY WORDS!” <<Yes, that last bit was said in full-on teenager style.
I told him to sit down. Then I told him to give me a name.
He chose ‘Jeffrey’.
I told him to give me a setting.
He chose a block of flats (apartments to the peeps across the pond).
So we stuck Jeffrey on the roof. And then we made him jump … to the next block of flats.
In fifty words, we’d created a free runner.
My son looked at me like I was kinda cool (only kinda), and he took his homework to school with pride in his eyes.
So, remembering said evening where I’d connected in a beautiful way with a fourteen year old boy (who just happens to be almost six foot tall and broad enough for me to hide behind), I read on in the received letter … and I reached a part that said:
… I am delighted to let you know that Mini-Me’s story, Leap, has been chosen for publication in Mini Sagas – Swashbuckling Stories The Midlands. A copy of the book will be sent to the British Library ……. providing a lasting record of your child’s achievement.
Ooooooooooooh, I thought.
Then I reached another part that said:
Leap has been typeset and a proof copy is enclosed. Please check the proof and mark any changes in red ink.
Just like how I work with my editor. Like a proper publication. With a date they must receive the edits back by and the signed form for copyright purposes giving them permission to publish it (an author’s version of a contract).
And then onto the last part where I read a bit that said:
Mini Sagas – Swashbuckling Stories The Midlands is scheduled for publication on 30th November 2011.
It is an awesome moment when a parent gets this kind of letter home—especially when it comes as a result of time we spent together and of him listening to me … yes, my son LISTENED to me (that’s an achievement in itself, right?).
So it is with pride swelling in my chest that I say: My son: The published author.
And here’s the certificate to prove it: Read the rest of this entry »
… of a novel that drives me nuts!
How many of you out there are novel writers? Who of you are plotters, and who’re the pantser’s?
Either way, I’m betting you all have/reach a certain point of your novel(s) that you struggle to get past.
Am I right?
Yeah, well … me, too.
Mine is that bit before the end.
You know the one?
You’re kinda trying to make the run-up to the stuff that will wow the reader–and to make the grand finale as grand as possible so it’s not forgotten by the time the reader turns the last page. But at the same time you don’t want to take away from the HEA you have planned, or the (for non-romance writer’s) ‘everything’s going to be okay’ reassurance, or (for the more convoluted minds out there) the twist you hit the reader with that leaves them staring at the page with a chill down their spine.
I hit that spot in Darkness & Light and rewrote a certain few chapters about three or four times before comfortable with their direction—I won’t clarify which ones/where due to spoilers for those who haven’t read it yet.
I hit that spot in Blue Moon (#2 of The Holloway Pack Stories and not yet released). Again, I shan’t clarify where for the same reasons as above.
Now I’ve hit that exact same spot in Caged (my current NiP and #3 of The Holloway Pack Stories). I’m less than 10k words away from ‘The End’. I know ‘how’ it ends. I know what has to happen between ‘now’ and ‘then’ for the reader/characters to reach the end. But … man, it’s like my head is trying to rush through it at manic speed because it’s seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. You know—that brilliant white light which pulsates with an energy that you know will leave you feeling 100% exhilarated, ecstatically happy, sad and exhausted all at the same time. You ever seen that light? Yeah, well, I can see it like a beacon in a storm and my darn stupid head wants to be there already.
So … what am I doing to ensure I don’t write something totally crap along the lines of:
Ethan headed back in, kicked everyone’s butt before they retaliated and he had to rely on help to win. Then he cleaned up the mess. Then he went home. Then he and Sean participated in an event which brought some exciting news for the pack. Then he reunited with someone he’d p****d off. And everyone was happy again. Yay, Ethan!
You see the dilemma I have? If I sent stuff out written to that standard, I’d be put in the stocks and have cabbages thrown at my noggin. Because it SUCKS!
So … because I have a perseverance I’m proud of (though it only exists in my writing), and I have more patience than is healthy for one person to possess, I’m making myself write it at the speed of a slug. To rush would be catastrophic. My tale would end up a mess. Whereas if I take my time, I’m forced to think about every scene between ‘now’ and ‘then’, and have far less chance of dragging the reader past details that have the potential to be important.
What about you?
How do you overcome it? Do you assume you have writer’s block (pffft—does … not … exist!)? Or do you slog on through? Maybe toss the novel aside and tell yourself you can’t finish it?
Where is your stumbling block? Do you have any great tips for getting past it?