Tuesday, 31 December 2013

End of December Wordcount

95,045.

Prologue, thirteen chapters and a half. 
Five + months since starting. 

Well, I didn't quite make the 100k mark but I came pretty close. Time's not really been on my side this month but I also realised that, along with the story marker I reached earlier in the month, I also hit a bit of a gap in my research. I've got a few trips planned in January to fill in the gaps and get some inspiration together for the second half of the book. Big, big, BIG plans next year. Wish me luck!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Phew!

With a rousing fanfare and a great big 'woohoo-for-me', I've made it to my story deadline. Yippee! 

It's been a long couple of weeks: seven-day working weeks and Christmas preparations do not make for the most conducive writing experience. And while that's definitely been reflected in my word count, I've managed to reach my plot point target with a whole 10 days to spare (I stopped writing just after midnight last night, but I'm counting that as the 15th). I'm pretty glad Me of the Past spent extra time writing last month. Having that big chunk of words behind me has really helped boost me forward to reach my goal. 

I'm now officially considering The Book half way done, which I think is a pretty big achievement (insert self-congratulatory back patting here). I honestly doubted I would make it this far without getting disheartened by my ambition or distracted by something easier or less time consuming. I'm really glad to see myself come so far since I started and it gives me confidence that I might really manage to write the whole book. 

I'll probably be giving writing a bit of a back seat for the last few busy days before Christmas. I've been editing chapters as I've finished them and I'm hoping to have everything so far at least a little more polished before the festivities begin. I might even let one or two particular people have a read.

That 100,000 word mark certainly is tempting though... and only about 10,000 words away. Hmm...

Saturday, 30 November 2013

End of November Wordcount

82,240.

Prologue, ten chapters and three quarters.
Four+ months since starting.

22,200 words this month! (Is it a bit weird to be such an exact number? I swear, I count every word.)  I'm really pleased with my progress in November. I've really been able to move the story along a long way since the end of last month and I've had a lot of really good writing days. With my Christmas deadline coming up its good to be able to make some good progress. Real Life got in the way during the last little bit, but I was expecting that so I'm not going to be too hard on myself. 

I'd love to hit the big 100,000 mark by the end of 2013 but it's a pretty unlikely thing given my current schedule. So long as I hit that all important storyline marker though, I'll be happy.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Some Inspiration Pictures...

Some images I have in the bank for reference for my main character:




I'm going to need a lot of new ones soon as the story moves away from its original setting. I'm hoping to visit the Royal Armouries in Leeds and hopefully some stately homes in the New Year to get some ideas.

(You might be able to tell: the genre of The Book is fantasy...)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

On Having Two Jobs and Meeting Deadlines...

While my dream of being a writer sits happily in the possible-future-time of my life, bills still need to be paid. So, during the day I have a shop job. The pay isn't great but the work isn't too demanding and when I leave of an evening I don't have to think about it again until 9:30 the next morning.

When I finished my degree in May I had the idea in mind of becoming a Librarian. Now, don't get me wrong, it's still my go-to occupation of choice and if I had to pick a career goal outside of writing, that would be it. Anyway, when I finished uni I got on the job application band wagon and went for the circular tour straight back to Where I Started, but I did come away with a casual position at my university's library. I didn't hear anything much from them after my training until I got the email asking me to work for them over the busy Christmas assignment period. This was originally just Sunday afternoons but, as of tomorrow, I'll be doing three evenings a week as well. This means as well as my full time 5-day-a-week job, I also have another 12 hours of library work.

Yay bank balance! Boo writing!

About 2 months ago I set myself a target within the story to reach by Christmas. It's about half way through the book, ties up the story line nicely and sets the scene for the major happenings in the second half. After hearing about the extra hours I'll be doing, plus the looming threat of the holiday season, I've been glued to my computer to still try and reach that target.

Today marks ONE MONTH until Christmas Eve (oh bottoms) and I have every hope that I can still make my goal. I've had a very productive November of writing (even if it's no where near as impressive as all the NaNoWriMo-ers out there. I doff my hat to you people: 50,000 in a month is just bonkers), so hopefully it'll make up for the lost time in the last month of the year. Here's hoping it does and that I'm not a cranky mess by the time Christmas Day rolls round.

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

End of October Wordcount

60,040.

Prologue, seven chapters and a snippet. 
Three+ months since starting.

I feel like I should have gotten further this month. I'm a little disappointed. For some reason I really struggled to find the drive to just sit down and write (which is also why I didn't do much/any blogging this month). I've picked up again quite a bit in the last week or two, which is why I think I'm disappointed: because it felt like I've gotten a lot done of late. But oh well. I'll just have to work harder in November. Lots to do! 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Editing


I've taken to carrying my first few chapters around to read through and edit away from home. I'm finding it much easier than trying to work on the computer and it means when I do get home I can just get on with writing. 

I was getting worried that, actually, maybe everything I'd written was awful. But it's not too bad actually.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Main Character Troubles...

The difficulty with a main character is to not make them perfect. It's so easy to make a character who sees every clue the author leaves, reacts correctly to every dilemma, never says the wrong thing. Making your lead real means making them human, which means giving them flaws. Ok, so you have a pretty, good looking female lead. Now give her big feet. Make her chew her nails. Give her acne, split ends, tiny breasts and a flat bottom. Then again, who wants to write about someone ugly and mean? Who wants to read that? Fiction is about escapism after all. So maybe a few allowances can be made. But let's try not to get carried away, shall we?

The other temptation, especially when writing about a character whose the same gender as you, is to make them you. Oh, she loves the colour purple. She has curly hair. She drinks black coffee and loves books and the smell of cut grass and hates lavender and bad grammar... Oh, whoops. No, let me rethink... She hates coffee. Drinks water all the time. Likes to exercise. Her hair is straight, her eyes are dark. She likes cleaning toilets and being really cold all the time! Whoops. Suddenly you've made your own anti-self. Some strange, polar opposite of yourself who's as contrived as the one who was exactly like you.

With Thea, my lead, I've tried to give her a little bit of myself. It would be impossible not to put something of yourself into a character after all. But writing yourself is boring to read and obnoxious to write. Instead, I find things we have in common.  She hates the smell of coffee, but she loves the way a book feels in her hand. She's calmer than me, but still a little nervous. I worry about the perfection thing. I want her to be kind and honest and cleaver. She has to be cleaver, because of where she comes from. And kindness suits her. But maybe she should lie a little? Maybe she should jump to the wrong conclusion sometimes, be more stubborn, less forgiving. 

She needs some work yet, I think.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Why I started The Book...

Here is where I try not to just give that terrible, nose-wrinkling cliché "I've always had a passion for writing". Because obviously, that's true for almost every writer, but no one wants to say that because... just urgh. I'd love to have a brilliant, existential justification for starting The Book but there you go. I just want to write.

Primarily, I started writing because I don't want to do anything else. In May, I finished my education degree with not a lot more than a desperate desire Not To Be A Teacher. I can think of things I would like to become, careers I'd be proud to have. But every time, in the back of my head, I remember being fourteen and imagining writing, all the time, for a living. I walk into book shops and I imagine my name down the spine. I see book signings and picture myself behind the table. Its's always been there, this something I'll do one day. It felt like a certainty. One day I will write a book. But that was the point: one day. In the future, some time. Never an actuality.

So, after finishing my degree and spending a good three months going depressingly from unappealing job applications to pathetic, unsuccessful interviews, I remembered the career I really want. Here I am, with a job to get by with and enough spare time to set aside to this massive undertaking. If I wanted to become a writer, I needed to start somewhere. And I'd reached somewhere.

Chances are The Book will never see the light of day. Maybe the only person who'll ever read it will be me and maybe my boyfriend who has developed the tendency to read drabs of almost-sentences over my shoulder. But I have to try. I want to push myself to do it, to prove that if nothing else I have enough in me to write a whole book. Maybe I won't even do that much. But here I am, trying.