Writing Update – October 2016

It’s been a while since my last writing update, but I thought I would check in now and let you know how things are going.

I have just received feedback from a friend of mine who kindly offered to read through my novel, The Unnaturals, so my writing life at the moment has mostly been spent going through her comments and making notes of where I need to action things and develop the writing a bit more.

It has been insanely helpful having another pair of eyes read through it. Most of what she picked up on were areas where I didn’t quite explain things fully or the context was not completely clear. With these areas highlighted and me having something I can actually work on, I am able to improve the novel and make the reading experience a lot more enjoyable for any future readers (one can hope).

To make the most of the editing experience, I’ve converted my reading corner into a writing den – moving all my books on writing and some of my notebooks onto a makeshift step-ladder shelf and laying out my stationary for when I get fully into the editing process. At the moment, I am just summarising the changes that need to be made and how I’m going to go about doing them.

In other news, NaNoWriMo is coming up! I still haven’t decided if I am going to participate this year. As much as I would love to, I would much prefer to do so with a new book, and writing rather than editing. With the amount of editing that is still on my radar, I am a bit concerned with taking on more than I can chew. That being said, I do have an outline for the sequel to The Unnaturals so, if the temptation proves too much, I will probably try and write a large bulk of that in the month. Not only will it help keep me in The Unnaturals world, but it will also mean I get to do some writing proper, which I have missed.

That’s mostly it on the writing news. I will keep you posted come November whether or not I end up participating in NaNoWriMo (I probably will, knowing me, but maybe not to the extent of 50,000 a month).


Writing Update – Camp Nanowrimo Week 2

Another Wednesday, another writing update.

Camp Nanowrimo is proving to be a very good incentive for my editing, as is the calendar on my wall where I mark how much work I have done. I have yet to introduce a reward system, but I am tempted – very tempted indeed.

So far, I have managed to edit 28,049 word of my novel and I am certainly enjoying rereading it again, which is always a good sign. Two parts have been gone through now, out of the total six, and I am just about to start on the third, which means I am nearly half-way through!

Unfortunately, I am still behind schedule. I had hoped to be nearing the fourth part by the middle of the month, but ended up having to miss a couple of days of writing due to the occasional headache. Writing with a headache is never a good idea, I’ve found. 

Luckily for me, however, is I have nothing planned this weekend. I have two whole days in which to sit down and write (and read when I’m not writing, of course). There will be tea a-plenty and, hopefully, a lot of progress made.

I will keep you posted.

See my previous writing update here

Writing Update – Camp Nanowrimo Week 1

We’re halfway through the first week of July and with it comes my first writing update of Camp Nanowrimo. This month, I am editing one of my completed novels with the intention of sending it out from the beginning of August.

The Unnaturals, as my novel is called, is made up of 6 sections, each with around 7 chapters. As of today, I have finished editing the first of these sections – narrated by Annaliese, it launches the novel and introduces some of the major players.

Editing it was quite a fun experience. As I have gone through a number of periods where I’ve tried editing this book before life got in the way, Part 1 was probably the most polished going in, so I have a feeling that the road ahead will only get more difficult. It did mean, however, that I now have a bit more a confidence boost in the work and I have been re-acquainted to the world without being bogged down in the details.

Most of what I have been focusing on is flow and sentence structure. Previous edits had helped smooth over the story-line so this was a bit more in the nitty-gritty zone. There were a number of clunky paragraphs so these have hopefully been smoothed over. I have also made a number of decisions on things, such as names, which previously I kept changing my mind over so the consistency was a bit off.

All in all, I am certainly feeling like I am making progress and am looking forward to the next section which will be narrated by my other main character – Fayna. That will be me mostly editing the same things as above, but also knuckling down on her voice and character. I will also, hopefully, be making a start on the third part, which will be back to Annaliese’ narration. But more on that in next week’s writing update.

Words Edited: 8,658

NaNoWriMo Novel: The Unnaturals Sneak Peek

Chapter 1

The clouds drifted up above, barely visible against the night sky. Beneath it, the courtyard stood empty, save for a sole guard watching her from beneath an archway. Half the night had been spent on the soft grass, and now the first remnants of day were beginning to appear. A small whistling sounded to her right. Turning her head slightly, she saw the tree quiver in the wind. Afraid, Warning her away. Beyond it, the guard began to move.

Annaliese closed her eyes and breathed out gently. Beneath her gloved hands, her stomach rose and fell. A soft crunch informed her of the guard’s steady approach. It would soon be morning, when all the good, little Moon Folk should be tucked away in their beds. With another lingering glance up at the sky, she returned inside the stone structure that was the Temple Palace, the only safe haven for the Moon folk. The only place she could call home. There had been a different home once; that much she knew. On occasion, Annaliese thought she dreamt of it. A small cottage basking in sunlight, or a large town house glittering with gold flecks. It changed every day.

The Temple Palace, a large cathedral-like building, engulfed her as she passed back through the archways. It obscured the sky, forcing the growing light away from her eyes. What rose above her was not the half of it. She turned down a flight of stairs, descending deep beneath the surface. Magic was built into the building’s very walls, and it grew to accommodate everyone that resided within. At least, that was what Fayna had told them. Darkness loomed ahead, pushed back by candles that never seemed to burn out. It was not hard to get lost in the catacombs far below and occasionally someone took a wrong turning. They turned up weeks later, lost and confused. Most of them had very little memory of what had happened – the unrelenting darkness and lack of food sending them half-mad. Sometimes, they did not turn up at all.

Where she was walking now, the corridors were almost empty. Only a few people still lingered around the halls, their eyes bleary and stature slumped. New recruits, she presumed; their scars looked fresh. Checkmate must have had his turn with them.

She sighed, the day guards would be coming out in their masses soon, ready to hunt down anyone breaking the curfew inflicted upon them. A hand came to rest on her shoulder. Annaliese jumped, hardly daring to turn around. Barely a moment later, the empty corridor echoed with a soft laugh. “Really, Annaliese? And I thought I was the nervous one.”

“Emelia!” Annaliese turned to pull the small girl into a hug, “I thought you were a guard.”

Emelia laughed again, but with less conviction than before, her hazel eyes just visible through the silver mask she wore. “With my hand? It’s practically a mosquito compared to theirs. Come on, I have something to tell you.”

Annaliese found herself being taken by the hand and dragged along the corridors. Emelia walked with haste and the occasional glance around. They passed wooden door upon wooden door, each inscribed with a name, but still they continued further down into the maze of corridors. A few more twists and turns and they came to a halt in front of another door, much like all the others but with the name ‘Emelia’ written on it in a smooth, cursive hand.

The masked girl drew out a key that hung from a chain about her neck and, after a moment of fiddling, the door creaked open. She hurried inside, over to the quilted bed and sank down onto it, folding her legs beneath her as she did so. A rare grin stretched across her lips, just touching the edge of the mask that covered her eyes. Shutting the door behind her, Annaliese followed, and came to perch gently on the edge of the bed. Thousands of eyes stared down at the pair from the walls. She shivered.

“Well? What is this news you are so dying to tell me?” She positioned herself to face Emelia, trying to gauge her friend’s expression through the silver camouflage she was wearing.

Emelia leant forwards and slipped her hands into Annaliese’s, clasping more tightly than she had on the trip down to the room. “I did it. I managed to make myself visible again.” It came out in a voice that scarcely believed what it was saying.

“That, that’s amazing!” Annaliese found herself engulfing the red head in another tight hug. Both girls laughed in excitement as it finally sunk in. Even the masks that covered Emelia’s walls seemed to have expressions of joy on their unmoving faces. “So,” She pulled away, and looked her friend in the eye, continuing more cautiously, “can you control it now?”

The smile on the girl’s face faded slightly, and she looked down at her hands. “I’m not sure. I only managed to do it once. Completely on my own, fully focused. No distractions, and no Witches.” Her voice dropped considerably, almost to the point where Annaliese had to lean forwards to hear her, “I don’t think I’d be able to do it again. Not under stress. Not with them. Which is when I usually disappear.”

“Don’t worry. This is the first step, and what a step it is. Just keep practicing and soon you’ll be able to do it with no problem. And anyways, at least it means I’m still needed.” Annaliese cocked her head to one side. Before her, Emelia looked almost completely relaxed, but there was still a tension about her shoulders and her narrow fingers fiddled with the frills of her dress. “There is something else isn’t there? You’re hiding something. Are you going to tell me or do I have to guess?”

It took a couple of minutes of puzzlement before Emelia managed to figure out what Annaliese was talking about. When she did, she shrunk into herself, not daring to look Annaliese in the eye. “Yes, tomorrow. Siobhan asked me if we wanted to watch the, you know,” Her voice dropped to barely more that a whisper, accompanied by a considerably nervous glance at the door, “Sun Council Elections. She said it would be top secret. They can’t know.” Her eyes flicked towards the closed door again. Annaliese leant back against the wall, just missing an inconveniently placed cat mask. Worry replaced all the happiness she had felt at Emelia’s achievement.

“The elections? That’s impossible, there must be countless barriers in place preventing us from watching such a thing. And it would be risky.”

“That’s why Siobhan says it had to be top secret. She says she and Driskey could do it, connect us to the elections. I’m curious, Annaliese. Terrified, but curious.” Hazel eyes pleaded with Annaliese through metal peepholes, “and I know you want to watch them too.” She was right about that last part. Annaliese did want to see what was occurring in the world beyond the Temple Palace’s walls, the world that kept intruding on her thoughts. Perhaps it would be worth the risk. She would find an answer to questions she never knew she had asked.

“Tomorrow then. I’ll let Siobhan know we’re coming.”

Nanowrimo 2015

November is fast approaching and with it, Nanowrimo.

For those who don’t know, Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is a website, charity and community based around the simple (or not so simple) idea of writing a novel in a month. As it stands, this novel is about 50,000 words, but you can change your goal to be however many words you want to aim for. You don’t even have to write a novel – plays, poetry, rebelling in any way is allowed. The only goal is to try and write every day for a month. The sheer sense of achievement at the end is enough reward in itself.

I, in the many years of trying to take part, have only managed to win Nanowrimo once and its summer counterpart Camp Nanowrimo, twice. Something always seems to get in the way.

This month is going to be different.

This month, I am joining the rebel forces.

This month is going to be all about the editing.

I have two novels, both completed to the point where there is a ‘The End’ at the end. Unfortunately, neither of the two is at a point where they can be read by another human being. They both need a lot of work.

So, this November, my goal is to edit 50,000 words. I will be working on both books, as they’re in different stages of editing and it will keep things interesting working on the two of them. Unfortunately, this month will be even more of a challenge as I am now working 9 to 5 and so have less time than previous years for working on my books.

The two novels in question are:

The Unnaturals: One year after Annaliese wakes up in the clutches of the Moon Fellows, with no memories of her time in the Sun, she manages to break out of the fortress-like Temple Palace. With her best friend stuck on the inside, she must rely on the help of those raised to hate her people to rescue her friend and, with luck, bring down the Moon Fellows’ tyrant leader.

The Spirits of Old: The unbeatable Shadow Army has overrun much of the middle continent and shows no signs of stopping. Forced away from her home, Lila heads East to a land of peace. On the way she discovers her role in an ancient prophecy and must learn to harness the magic inside of herself as the Shadow army draws ever nearer.

I am really looking forward to getting back in to these two worlds and bringing them closer to completion. As the month goes by, I will be writing blog posts about my progress and will try to keep you updated on how it is going.

If you’re doing Nanowrimo this year, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear about what you’re writing this year. My username on Nanowrimo is razka13 if any of you would like to become a writing buddy as well.

Halfway into NaNoWriMo and I’m Rebelling

I started November with a goal in mind – to write 50,000 words in the course of the month. I had achieved this goal before, both as part of camp and the mother-ship, but this year I planned to do something different. I planned to write a historical mystery novel. I had the characters mapped, the plot all loaded up and was raring to go. Come 17th November, and I have only written 316 words. What happened?

A number of things in fact. Near the beginning of the month, I discovered that my writing style does not lend itself easily to a new project that needs a lot of research, 50,000 words of which need to be written in a month. I ended trying to do research at the same time as writing, which cut down my writing time and speed 10-fold. Then came something I saw far in advance bit did not think to do anything about before NaNoWriMo began – university essay deadlines. I had two of them. Due within a week of each other. Both of which were assessed. As a result I had to put my NaNo novel aside to focus on my degree, loosing much of the month.

Now there are only 14 days left. There is no way I can write 50,000 words of a novel in that amount of time, particularly the kind of novel I wanted to try. So instead I am saving that project for another month, and joining the NaNo Rebels. Rather than write a book, I am going to edit one. My novel from Camp NaNoWriMo is undergoing a sporadic edit treatment, something that is not doing it any good. So, by the end of November, I hope to have edited at least half of it to a standard I am happy with. It will be challenge, since my editing skills have not yet been tested to the full. But hopefully I will achieve it.


Nanowrimo – It’s Game On.

I have just completed my first week of proper university lectures. Not to say that last year’s lectures didn’t count, but as a second year, this stuff actually counts. This is the year that everything goes towards your degree. Fresher-me had it lucky. Now the stress levels have taken a step up and my work load has doubled.

Of course, being me, that is not enough. No. This year I have also signed up for a correspondence course in proofreading, and I am taking on the Goliath that is Nanowrimo. Over summer I entered camp, but that was just the warm up. In order to reach 50,000 words this November, I am going to have to pull out all the stops. Time management, deadlines, rewards. All are going to have to be taken into account. It’s going to be a rollercoaster. Let’s hope it’s a fun one.

This month, in jolly old October, I’ve been plotting. I’ve been planning. I’ve been doing things a little bit differently. Normally, when I’ve entered Nanowrimo before, I’ve cheated slightly. I’ve had a set idea growing in the back of my mind that I’ve planned for ages beforehand. I’ve even had short passages already written. But that is behind me. I bought ‘Ready, Set, Novel’ and, from the beginning of October, I’ve been using it to brainstorm a completely new novel idea. It’s worked a charm. The nanoprep has had lift-off.

That does not mean to say I’ve been neglecting my Camp Nanowrimo novel. As if I could ever do that. Slowly but surely, I’ve been churning through that, trying to edit to the best of my abilities, but are very much lacking. I’m hoping, once I’ve settled back into university life, the pace will pick up a bit. I really want a finished novel.

Updates shall appear over the next few weeks, on both of this year’s novels. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your weekend!