Tag Archives: story

Feb 1st 2022 update

I kept my promise, despite having an ear and headache to keeping to my plans that from the first of February this year, I will write a minimum of 1k words per day towards one set novel, rather than a bunch of them; because I am trying to live by “The One Thing” principle for a while to see how much of a difference it would make to my productivity as a writer.

Today I have written 1354 words towards the dragon fantasy novel, but instead of working for two solid hours like I had planned, I felt in order to prevent burn out – I would stop any time after 1k words if I felt I am getting bored or tired of being in this writing position.  Therefore I wrote 1354 words in just one hour and twenty minutes, with a ten minute toilet break in that, so it wasn’t completely tied to the chair.

I have moved in a different direction with this dragon story, focusing more on character development and even added a drama scene in there, which is not something I am known for.

But to me, it works and has made a vast improvement to the plot in general.  I feel this story has a firmer future than before because of it and it has given me more freedom to give the characters a future in other potential books.  With that being said, this is going to written as a standalone; in case the publishers feel that there shouldn’t be an extension to this story.

Basically what I am trying to say is, this story is going to be more complete by the time I have finished it, without any questions needing answering if the publisher decides that this book should not be a series.

Also, I have noticed that my chapters are shorter than usual because I have learned to condense down a lot over the past few months, which means that the size of the book I am writing will not be epic as I used to fear.

This has not affected the quality of the book negatively, but has improved it tremendously.

I do realise, even now, that there will be another draft, even though this is supposed to be the final draft, because after I had written the previous chapter, I realised there was a certain element I forgot to include in the story, a build-up, the tension was short, the backstory almost non-existent, this will just mean when I have finished this draft entirely  in a few weeks’ time, that I will need to add around three pages to make up for the little bits I missed out.

But I am making notes after I have written towards the draft, so I am not distracted from the writing process – this is another thing that is new to the way that I work on my novels.

I am still keeping a spreadsheet on how many words and minutes I write per day, this is excellent in showing me just how much I actually do, do.

I guessed at the end of January that I wrote around 5 to 8k and only for around ten days of the month, but as it turned out, I realised going back to the spreadsheet that I wrote 36k words all told and wrote for fourteen days throughout the month.

Much more than I realised, it is a confidence booster, it also shows me that there was a time where I thought I didn’t write for two days last month but it was actually five solid days where I didn’t even type one word!

It is a real eye opener!

So, with that being said, I will keep you updated day to day as I am writing.  But remember, I have Fridays and Saturdays as my weekend, where I do not intend to write anything and I have scheduled in holidays where I allow myself the time off from writing altogether, unless I feel otherwise.  My first holiday from writing will be the last week of February, because this is the time Henry has time off from school and I would like to dedicate my time to him.

Happy reading everyone!

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Crazy mind

My mind is above a joke lately.

I am getting so many new ideas for writing and art projects that it is affecting productivity in the past few weeks!

I have no idea what has happened to my brain, but today alone I have written down synopsises of nine new stories and I have too many ideas for artwork too!

But one thing is clear; I am becoming predominantly a science fiction and dark fantasy writer; if there is such a thing as dark science fiction, well I think I am that too!

I have only managed to write plans down in the past few weeks, because of intense pain and medical emergencies – the laboratories seem late in the results, I only hope there isn’t another laboratory accident as that would be the fourth one in the last five years, where I had have to have tests redone!

I have never known a hospital that is so accident prone!

Sitting at a desk is agony and the sofa is not that good either, but it is much better than the dining chair or office swivel chair.

I am trying to force myself to work on my writing and this is scaring Paul, because I am pushing myself a lot and I have been near collapse.

I am sedentary and yet I still can’t cope?  I don’t get it, I don’ know why the pain is getting so bad, but all I know is, it is getting worse every few days!

One of the stories came to me at 3:30am on Tuesday; a Christmas fantasy in Christmas tradition and that took me two hours to write by hand, the next day my hand was swollen.

I wrote three chapters since to that project, but I wouldn’t call it hard work, because the chapters are small for me. 

Usually I’d write 3k words in a day towards an interesting subject, this Christmas story is only around 1k at the moment, Paul reckons it looks like it could be a children’s book the way I am writing it, as it is very child friendly so far.

I love the story, but I am worried about how long it should be if it is deemed to be a children’s book?  I don’t know… I am not known for writing specifically for children!

Paul thinks it could be a slightly larger than average children’s picture book, because he would like to see a lot of pictures in this story – I am uncertain personally.

I know the story has the potential to be very popular, but I am not confident on how to market this.

Anyway, thank you for reading and if I don’t post before then, have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Category for current projects

This is a new category which will enable me to share more of what I am doing as a writer.

I will not tell vast details of the plots I am doing but I will talk about what kind of things are going to be in the story and if there are any major changes in any rewrites.

By doing this I am hoping that people who are interested in stories like the ones I will mention will cheer me on and spur me to write faster for them!

It is always nice to know that there are people out there who need a book I am writing!

I always do better when I feel that there are people out there who are genuinely interested in my work!

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1st, 2nd & 3rd drafts

In a discussion at the NaNoWriMo forum, somebody asked whether adding “what ifs” were something that people do when they are stuck on the event?

My reply was pretty long for a forum post, but nonetheless I hope it was helpful for them and I hope it would be helpful for you too – here is a more fleshed out answer to my response.

When I am writing a novel, my first draft is usually part of the ideas and planning process.

In the first draft I ask questions and try to answer them as strongly as I can to help me develop strong characters and scenes that make sense to the plot as a whole.

I ask questions such as, what is the relationship of this character to the main character.  How will this characters existence help move the plot along?  What vital actions would this character do to play a part in the plot of this story? 

I would also write alternative paths for the story as a whole as they come.  This is made easier by love for lists and random.org.  For example, if the story is a fantasy where people are going onto a journey, are the characters turning towards the forest, the farm or a shadowy path into a darkened valley?  This is usually done at times I feel stuck about how to progress – when this happens, for me it is important not to stop my flow of writing by overthinking it, but to get all possible ideas down on paper and then pick one later on, when you have run out of energy to do more for the day; or if you are truly desperate for a decision to move your story along, use random.org to force a decision for you and you will often come out with some surprising alternatives you’d never thought of originally for your story!

The second draft is all about the elimination of the stuff that didn’t survive your story in the first draft, then sewing all you have kept together as neatly as possible.  But, I am a psychopath, I have been known to write similar plot stories based on two to four alternatives, to see how I feel about them several months down the line, then I choose the best one to continue onto the third draft with!

The third draft is all about tidying things up and cutting scenes out or adding new ones, for me it is the preparation for polishing the finished product, because for me, it is rare that a story gets past a third draft.

It can be a nightmare trying to sift through the first draft in between the chunky messes that appear out of nowhere, but for me it is worth it and it is the only way I manage to stay productive without feeling frustrated or coming to a dead end.

I am a chaotic thinker, I understand this is not for everyone, but this system works for me. 

I think too many people try to make the first draft too pretty and polished immediately, novels don’t work like that.

I can be found in the UK, Leicester region of NaNoWriMo throughout this month.

Good luck in your writing ventures everybody!

Happy reading!

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NaNoWriMo fresh idea

I had planned to write towards the giant story 1 for NaNoWriMo but something has occurred in my mind to change that; Instead I have decided to write an a new idea with a remastered old idea combined to make a very different story, which will be called Dragon story 2.

In the old story I wrote as a short story around fifteen years ago, a young farm girl finds a baby flying unicorn and flies off into the clouds into a new magical world at night.  This time it is not going to be a flying unicorn, the story will still exist in how I originally wrote it untouched/undeleted; but this time the farm girl will find a baby dragon and an entirely different story takes place, where the girl this time will not be adventuring alone!

This will be a family fantasy, whether or not there will be funny moments in this story or not, remains to be seen at the present time.  I am in planning mode right now and intend to fully write this story throughout NaNoWriMo simply because it’s very fresh and I do better with fresh new projects than old stale ones.

When doing NaNoWriMo, I force myself to forget all other projects except for the one I am counting words towards for the event. I become completely absorbed in that story alone, so it is vital I choose correctly!

Happy Reading!

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A writers question

I have a question – how many times can a person use an idea for their writing before their readers start to find the author predictable and boring?  Can the same idea be used in many different types of storylines?  This is a question I am struggling to find answers for lately; I have many good ideas for many different types of stories, but I can’t decide which one to go with – I’d like to eventually go for them all, but I worry that my readers will lose interest if there are too many differences of the same old storyline. 

I have ideas for mermaid stories; many ideas, depicting the mermaids in different lights and scenarios and in each story their culture and their ways are very different as much as their personalities are.

The same with my vampires, I have many different personalities for vampires and many different concepts of how they should live their lives within my stories – but – should an author be known for always depicting the vampires and mermaids that they write about in the same or similar way as they always have done?  Should they be known for that kind of vampire and that kind of mermaid rather than many types?  Do the readers expect consistency in every story about vampires to be alike or similar to another story they have read from the same author – or are big changes from story to story acceptable?

I wish I knew more about this.

I have never joined a writers circle or anything before and I have never really socialised amongst other writers, it is difficult for me to get to group sessions because of my illness and disabilities, so as long as it is free online I can’t really find out more.

What are you views on this subject?

 

 

 

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Friend for a procrastinating writer

I need a kick up the bum

A good writing chum

Who will nag at me all day!

To sit and write and get on with something

To focus and not to play

I need someone formidable

Who will watch me as I write?

Making sure I do not wander

Making my schedule really tight

I need someone to bother me

Have you done it yet?

Which story do I ask them?

The one I told you pet!

Oh OK you see, I wandered

I did this instead you see

Now haven’t I always told you?

To focus on A first then B?

Ah, yes, sorry dear

I will try my best

Yes you will or I will nag

I need that kind of friend, a person with zest

So where are you friend I need?

The one who will make sure that I will bleed

Every little ounce of my blood

Onto the paper in a creative flood

A story that I’ve started to end

All because of that elusive friend

Where are you friend?

Please come quick, I need these stories to end

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Weekly Prompt 3

This week’s prompts are – Blacksmith – Phoenix – City – An Illness – Snow 

Interesting prompts giving me a lot of ideas for a large story, possibly another novel, not something I really need at the moment considering the back log of ideas I have but there you go!

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Sunday Word Count 4

Sunday word count four – I’m not on The Wall of Shame huzzah!

This week’s word total is…

12382

And possibly more as I have written approximately six pages of stuff by hand and haven’t typed them up on the computer yet!

It is good but I have written nothing at all for three of the days this week and my only excuse for that is I was exhausted and had gastric flu.  Yes, sorry for the TMI (too much information).

The days break up as this;

11th August – nothing and that’s because our internet is still tetchy, in fact it has been tetchy again today too. 

12th August – 1584 words, which is usually considered a low average for me.

13th August – 7483 words, that is amazing and I wish most days were like this!  Especially as it is still the school summer holiday!

14th August – 637 words, quite low and not at all good in my opinion!

15th August – nothing, because I was busy with other things, mostly reading and calming Henry down and having what seems to be gastric flu.

16th August – nothing again because of the gastric flu!

17th August – 2678 words, which is my good average amount for daily writing.  It is something I would do usually when Henry is at school; it is still the summer holidays so it is amazing I did my average word count for the day whilst he was home!

The writing I have done this week has been mostly notes towards my leprechaun fantasy, including a title change and rewriting certain weak characters to make them have more of a part in the plot of the story, because there was a lot of weak characters, some of which I will be deleting entirely once this fourth or fifth draft is complete. 

I have not included the words towards new story ideas I have had this week, there has been three new novel ideas I have had, but I can’t start work on them until all this other work is finished.  I am not bragging or anything but I really do have a huge backlog of ideas piled up in a corner of this room and it is getting ridiculous because I know that more than half will never ever be started, let alone finished as there is just too many!  I think I must be the only writer in the history of the world who has her own slush pile for what ideas might work and what are weak!

I am also weighing up something in my mind a lot recently.  I love reading and writing fantasy, horror, sci-fi and dystopian stories – I especially love and am addicted to my vampire stories, my saga I am doing.  But I am reading a lot about how a writer shouldn’t really have too many genres under their belt and this is disheartening to me because I love them all.  I can’t release my vampires or my fantasy in particular and there are at least four dystopian stories I really want to write; it seems to me that there are only really two horrors I have planned, so I can release the horror I guess?  Though I have been told by so many people that horror is more of my strength than other types of fiction I write.

I thought I could just write anything and be appreciated just as much, but the more I research the more I am finding that this isn’t the case, I could be found unprofessional and disloyal to my original fan base.  Even to have just the three genres could be too many.  I don’t really know what genre vampires can be put into, because I have found them in so many different sections at the bookstore and in the libraries that they have confused me – they are put into the dark romance, dark fantasy, horror, gothic and erotica sections – so which is it?  Dystopian novels can be put into science fiction, horror or thriller sections too.  Fantasy also has about three sections, dark fantasy, adult fantasy, family fantasy. 

I am struggling to decide which ones to say goodbye to.  My fantasies tend to be comedy family fantasies and some of them are dark, very dark and borderline horror again sometimes with small interjections of dark comedy. 

My Dystopian stories have links with science fiction ideas, new fictional type sciences and leans towards some religious or mythological ideologies or prophecies. 

My vampires are more complexed as the sagas cross into so many genres, science-fiction, horror, romance and fantasy as even my vampires mingle with fairies and so forth.

It is apparently great to be different, but not so different that you can’t define your genre.

If I can’t define my genre right now, how can any of my future agents and publishers?

It is both a depressing and eye opening reality of being a writer.

It makes me feel so caged.

I really love and adore my vampire novels so much and they are a huge part of who I am, but I am not ready to kiss goodbye my leprechauns, mermaids, giants and dragons either.  Nor am I willing to kiss goodbye my ripped up worlds full of warlords and surviving citizens and their struggle for salvation and freedom.

So who is going to take me seriously when I post out my stories to agents in a year or two?

Do you think I worry too much?  Please post what you think in comments below.

Thank you for reading.

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Sunday Word Count 2

Sunday word count time!  Drum roll please…

14987

This is what I have accomplished since last Sunday, getting better, much better.

Here is how it has been broken down, day by day, with excuses in tow, even though there are no excuses really for bad days!

28th July – 2437 – good

29th July – 1456 – better than bad

30th July – 3039 – writing like my old self again

31st July – 3100 – Oh yes, I am back in the flow, just like my old self again for sure

1st August – 160 – what the blazes happened here?  4 hours sleep and a migraine, darlings.

2nd August – 4329 – Making up for lost time huh?  No, just an excellent day!

3rd August – 466 – what happened here?  Tired and was distracted by library books!

Notes for the week –

I am writing towards three novels at once because I get twitchy if I am forced to work on the same thing over and over, variety is the spice of life right?  I am going to name them for you as subject and number with main characters name because I don’t really know what the titles should be and I tend to write about the same subject a lot.  So my current projects are…

Vampire story 1 – Rhea

Fantasy adventure 1 – Maud

Horror 1 – Johnny

But in February I had a dream and you know what they say about authors who dream their story plots don’t you?  Well neither do I actually, but the ones who had written stories based on a dream tend to become classics – I doubt mine will, but I was surprised when the dream came to me.  The dream left me until Thursday night, when it came back with more details and then again last night, it doesn’t want to leave me alone, so I have been trying to fight the urge to add a fourth book to the list of working projects, but I am fighting a losing battle, I am going to have to include a fourth book in the works.

This book will be known as werewolf story 1.

I have put a mermaid story on the back bench as I have to fall in love with it again.

I am trying so hard to stick with three ideas, but if you want me to be completely honest with you, it is so hard, because I have too many ideas and sticking to just three is literally torture, so I do sometimes sneak in titbits of other stories.

Maud and Rhea are very nearly finished actually, so around Christmas they shouldn’t be a problem anymore, well Maud should be done in the least.  

Once a first draft is written I do what Stephen King suggests in his book “On Writing”, I put the story away for about three months and then come back to it with fresh eyes, it works wonders because you tend to forget what you’ve done – seriously, you do!  You get to read it as a reader, not the creator and you see more mistakes and weaknesses in your story if you do this.

Maud though is not a first draft, the draft I am working on is the fourth attempt and there will be probably be a fifth as I had noticed quite recently two characters which are following the main character around are adding literally nothing to the plot, so I have to write in more interesting stuff for them or just wipe them out from existence; which would be a shame because I really want those characters to work.

I must admit, all blog posts, poetry included are first drafts, I don’t bother polishing my work here, it is not that I don’t care about my blog, it is that I care more about my novels and stuff I want to send to publishers more.  If I became persnickety about my blog, the other stuff would never be done.

Further word count scores will be posted up every Sunday, I noticed it does motivate me to write as I don’t want to go the wall of shame like I should have last week – I will actually start doing that I think, if I write less than 10,000 words in a week, I will wall of shame myself. 

Could I bare the humiliation of another last week?

Good luck with your own writing!  But more importantly, make sure it is fun, if it is not fun for you it won’t be fun for your readers.

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