Writing Update

 

I have been fairly quiet on writing updates lately and there is a simple reason for that: there haven’t been any. Life has been pretty busy lately and I have neither the time nor the energy to actually focus on writing. That is going to change.

Over the course of the next few months I’m going to gradually try and make writing more of a habit than a hobby. I have so many story ideas whirling around in my head, ones which I want to write and read for myself; yet, the way things currently are, they simply aren’t being written.

I have already taken the first steps on this process: I have a writing nook under my stairs (complete with desk, stationary and a biscuit barrel) and I have already started on the goal of trying to write a little bit each day. Essentially, rather than going all out from the get-go, I’m going to take a more gradual and fairly broad approach. Writing will cover anything relating to ‘author-dom’, so it will include all stages of the process to planning to pitching as well as these blog posts, and I won’t be aiming to write 2000 words a day either. I will have a weekly goal and that can be met by any kind of writing which I do.

At the moment, my main project will be finishing the editing of my current novel, as well as sending that out. Admittedly, this has been my main goal for a while, but I am now close to the finish – nearly two thirds of the way through edits and already starting to plan querying. You will also, hopefully, see more blog posts from me, about both books and writing. Reviews may be less frequent as a result, but it will mean this blog will be a bit more varied.

That’s the rough outline of the plan, it’s still an evolving process but, whatever form it ends up in, I’m hoping it will be a success. Let me know if there are any writing-themed posts you would be interested in seeing and on with the writing!

Advertisements

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

Writing Update – June 2016

This post is coming slightly later than normal for the simple reason that I spent yesterday in complete shock. The EU referendum result has sent shock waves around the UK, and indeed Europe, and I am devastated by it (Remain supporter here).

But, onto slightly happier affairs, this post is going to be a quick updating on my writing.

I have not been doing much writing lately; life had been busy and getting in the way so the amount I have been able to work on has been limited. I have been able to do the odd editing and writing from time to time, but really not as much as I would like. So, I have come up with a cunning plan (well, a plan, I wouldn’t necessarily call it cunning).

As I have said in the past, I have two project currently on the go. The first is 5-book series which is still in the writing stage. The second is a duology (with potential for a prequel), the first book of which is in the editing stages.

One of my goals this year is to get a book to the point where I can start sending it out to agents and/or publishers. The latter of the two projects is the best bet for this, as it is the closest to completion and the one I am most happy with at this current moment in time.

So, what is this plan? Well, I have just bought tickets to attend YALC at the end of July where they have a session to pitch the book to agents. I’m not sure what the outcome for that will be, but it seems as good a place as any to start and it provides me with a deadline which I work much better towards. Luckily for me, July is also Camp Nanowrimo month – which I shall be making use of for editing the book – the goal is to get the novel to a good standard by the end of July. It will be a lot of work, but I am hopeful.  

After July, well I will be dividing my attention between sending out the novel to agents and either working on the 5-book series or writing the second book in the duology. Whichever one I go for I will be writing.

I will endeavour to post frequent updates on either this blog or Twitter to keep you updated on how it is all going. And I’m looking forward to it. It’s been too long since I’ve properly focused on my writing and I miss it. Bring on the next few months!

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.”

Looking Back at My Holiday Projects

I am now back at University, well in the middle of my final preparations for exams later this week and decided to take a break to look back at the projects I set myself to do over the holidays.

1) Revision

My first project was revision. As I still need to take the exams, I am not counting this as complete just yet, although I did do a fair amount over the holiday, which, believe me, was not fun. The main focus was statistics as I find numbers difficult to get my head around. Even then, there was a lot of reading of articles which took up a lot of time, but I do feel a lot more prepared now (definitely a good thing, and a relief as well)

2) Editing

My second project was editing a section of my novel ‘The Unnaturals’, which amounted to 7 chapters. Unfortunately, I only completed 4 of them. More than half, but not the total. This was mainly due to the focus on revision and my last project, which we will get to eventually. I do feel somewhat happy with this, as beforehand no progress was being made, and now I am getting back into it, and enjoying it a lot more

3) Proofreading and Copy Editing Course

Again, I only completed half of this challenge. I tasked myself with completing two modules of the course, but instead only managed one. The first, and completed module, involved an assignment at the end, so I wanted to make sure I would do a good job on that before progressing to the next one.

4) Getting Fit

I am extremely proud to say that I completed the four week programme that I was following to build up my basic strength and flexibility levels. Already I can see the effects and I am just so pleased with the result. It also makes my mew years resolution to be able to run at least 5k this year that little bit easier.

5) YouTube

This project was to set up and maintain a YouTube channel, which I did. My channel is here, and I am quite proud of the videos I have up there so far. My speaking and editing and just general producing skills do need work, but for now I’m happy with what I’ve done. I am going to continue it this year and see where it goes from there.

6) Christmas

Last but not least, Christmas. This was probably my favourite of the bunch, and it probably took up the most amount of time at the beginning of the holiday – buying presents, wrapping presents, getting organised. It was definitely worth it and it definitely turned out great in the end. The dog didn’t even eat the Christmas cake this year (that was a bit of a surprise last year and did not go down too well at all).

And those were my holiday projects. I will be continuing the ones that I did not complete, and even the ones I did, so I will try to keep you updated on those. If you had any projects over the holidays let me know what they were and how they went in the comments!