Five Year Writing Goal October

I’ve been doing lots of writing-related activity. But nothing that’s going to get The Reluctant Scribe published.

5 Year Writing Goal: October update

do you have goalsI’m taking part in Misha and Beth’s Five Year Project and my five-year goal is to write a novel and get it published. This is my update on progress this month.

Feedback on The Reluctant Scribe

A few months ago I sent my novel off for review by an adult historical fiction author and editor. Her comments were very positive and she provided me with a number of useful suggestions to consider.

What have I done with my novel since then?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Absolutely NOTHING at all.

Continue reading “Five Year Writing Goal October”

Camp NaNoWriMo is over and done

I try my hand at a romantic novel, but get hijacked by wayward characters and repetitive clichés. Progress was surprisingly hard. Maybe I am just not romantic enough!

2014-Camp Nanowrimo winnerWhy did I enrol in July Camp NaNoWriMo?

I had never tried my hand at a romance and thought it would be fun to try something different. Or maybe it was just the urge to give my fiction writing a kick-start, because work has stalled since I finished the last draft of my historical novel.

The traditional November NaNoWriMo is great fun. It’s what started me writing fiction in the first place. And I always manage to finish, usually exceeding the mandatory 50K words with plenty to spare. The beauty of Camp NaNo is you set your own target. But, since the typical M&B style romance is only 50,000 words long, the usual NaNo target of 50K seemed right to me.

I completed my major-characters’ sketches and mapped out a fairly detailed synopsis before I began, using the corkboard facility in Scrivener. But, despite this preparation, I found the writing process surprisingly hard. Maybe I am just not romantic enough!

Here are the problems I encountered:

  1. The characters, as usual, took on a life of their own and refused to stick to the synopsis.
  2. In a romance novel you should keep the focus on your two major characters, but I found new minor characters kept popping up and demanding larger roles for themselves.
  3. I found it very hard to avoid clichés. How many ways can you find to describe physical attraction? Without using the words thrill, heat, tingle, etc. It’s hard! (Oops. Perhaps I should say it’s difficult.) This really impeded the flow of writing.
  4. During the month of July, I went on two walking jaunts and received feedback on my Reluctant Scribe novel. All this got in the way of my romance writing and I resented the self-imposed discipline of keeping up with my word count.

What did I learn?

  1. Sticking to a synopsis is hard. But if you only have 50K words to play with, and a genre formula to follow, you have to try.
  2. Avoiding clichés is really, really difficult. In the end, I just had to relax and let them flow out onto the paper, knowing I can go back and reword each one later. This is, after all, why we must edit and re-edit our work.
  3. As usual, I am really good at setting myself difficult tasks, and distracting myself from my original goals. Next time, I need to look at my diary and ask myself one important question: is this what I really, really, want to do and do I have to do it now?

Did I finish Camp NaNo? You bet I did. But I had to revise my word count down from 50K to 40K, to take into account my two walking breaks. Luckily, in Camp NaNo you can set your own targets and revise them at any time up to the final week.

Good luck to all those other campers who are still tapping their way towards their final goal. Me? I’m going to put my feet up by the fire and toast a marshmallow.
2014-Camp NaNo Winner banner

NaNoWriMo 2013 – The End

nano-winner_2013-Winner-Square-ButtonIt’s finished!

My NaNo novel, Chasing Credit, is done.

Actually, hang on – NO it’s not finished!

Although I’ve officially ‘won’ NaNoWriMo this year again, Chasing Credit is far from complete. I did pretty well, achieving 52,574 words in less than 30 days and hitting the 50,000 mark on the 25th November. But, my personal aim was to achieve 60,000 words and to have written the end of the story, leaving gaps in the middle to fill in later. So, I haven’t hit 60,000 words and I haven’t reached the end, yet.

With two half-finished NaNo novels on my hard drive, I’m determined not to have a third. This is one I must complete.

But, first things first, I am going to return to my other novel, The Reluctant Scribe. The first draft of this is finished. In fact, I finished it on the last day of October in a desperate flurry of writing in order to clear the way for the beginning of NaNo. I am nervous about the redrafting/rewriting stage, having never got this far with a novel before. Recently I’ve bought Alan Watt’s book, The 90-day Rewrite, and I hope he guides me through the process. Will start working on the re-edit on 2nd December but for the next few days I am having a welcome break.

Day 13: Nanowrimo writing tip number six.

I don’t suffer from the notorious second week NaNo slump. But I do I suffer from the 3rd week ‘where the hell am I going with this pile of drivel’ NaNo blues. And it is about to hit me.

NaNo writing tip number six

Just keep going.
This may need repeating.

And one last time: JUST KEEP GOING

My 2013 NaNo novel is called Chasing Credit. I’m aiming for 60,000 words by the end of November.

Day 11: NaNoWriMo writing tip

Writing is a solitary occupation, isn’t it? One of the great joys of NaNo month is the camaraderie of the online community of mad, write-a-novel-in-a-month, crazy writers. And, while making virtual friends is always fun, meeting people in real life is even better.

NaNo writing tip number five

Get out there and meet some other NaNo nuts.
Yes, check your local forum and see if there is a group meeting near you.
Nothing local? Consider crossing borders and going into another county. It won’t kill you.

My 2013 NaNo novel is called Chasing Credit. I’m aiming for 60,000 words by the end of November.