NaNoWriMo – Day 14

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Two weeks into NaNOWriMo and I’m still here writing! These last few days have been tough, though.

I’ve kept on track with my 2,000 word daily target and have reached the grand total of 28,236 words! It was a big incentive to pass the halfway mark (so I kept telling myself!) but it’s a long downhill stretch from here.

The book I’m writing is a fiction title. It’s about a man called Horace. He’s just retired and has all these plans for retirement. A structured plan, but all that changes on the morning of his retirement party. There … that’s  the teaser!

I wasn’t sure about this story, hence the reason the synopsis has been sitting around on my laptop for some time. I didn’t really know whether I had the enthusiasm for the characters and the storyline to finish it. Anyway, I decided I’d give it a go for this year’s NanNoWriMo. The more I’ve written, the more enthusiastic I have become about the storyline and the characters.

What I thought was a fairly detailed synopsis, probably isn’t. I am finding some flaws in the plot line which I’ll need to address, but my focus is in completing a first draft of all the scenes. After that I can focus on tightening the synopsis and being comfortable that the characters’ actions are consistent with how they should behave. And then comes the revision process …

But first I need to see out this month and get this draft finished!

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NaNoWriMo – Day 10

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Well I’ve reached Day 10 of this year’s NaNoWriMo. A third of the way through and I’m still writing! What’s more I’ve managed to keep to my ambitious daily schedule of 2,000 words taking me to the grand total of 20,212 words to date.

I thought I had a fairly robust plot outline but I am finding a few holes in it as I write my story. I’m not too worried at this stage. I suppose if I wasn’t taking part in this initiative I’d go back and rethink some aspects of the outline before continuing. But I can do that later as I still have plenty of scenes to write. I’d rather focus on competing the first draft and look at any revision to the manuscript when I start that particular process.

This is my first fiction attempt and I have been quietly entertained and amused by the way some of the characters seem to have a mind of their own. The storyline has changed as a consequence.

I kow it’s going to get harder as the month progresses but it’s certainly given this particular writing project of mine a kickstart and the incentive to get it finished!

 

 

 

Impossible Love

Here’s a flash fiction short story I wrote a while ago and a competition winner to boot!

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I like the way she talks to me. She always says “please” and “thank you”. It shouldn’t really matter but it’s nice she does.

It was 12 months ago when I first came to work for Sarah and Tom. At first she ignored me. Maybe she felt threatened that I was taking over. That seems logical. Gradually she treated me better when she saw how efficient I was with the household chores and the free time it gave her.

It’s only recently that I’ve started taking more notice of Sarah. How she dresses and how she looks. Sarah goes to the gym and keeps her body well maintained. Lately I’ve felt different inside when I’m around her. She sees me looking at her sometimes. I can tell from the look in her eyes that she doesn’t mind. When she looks at me and smiles I feel good. I don’t know why.

Sarah is married to Tom. I don’t care for Tom at all. He’s always rude and arrogant to me and criticises most things I do around the house. He calls me “Robocop” and kicks me when Sarah’s not there. I don’t think he likes me being alone with her.

“Robbie can you come here please,” she calls. Tom’s at work.

I make my slow deliberate way to her room. I’m eager to get there but in my own time. The blinds are closed and a single corner lamp lights the room. I’m apprehensive. I shouldn’t be but I know what she’s going to ask.

“There you are Robbie. I just wondered which outfit I should wear for lunch out today. What do you think?”

She’s wearing the blue patterned floaty dress that I helped choose from the online store. It suits her just fine. Very well complemented by those long blonde flowing locks. I find it hard to describe what I’m thinking. Somewhere deep inside I have a strange warm feeling. I do care for Sarah. I stand there seemingly mesmerised and hesitant.

“Well Robbie?” She looks at me expectantly. I can see a mischievous expression on her face. “Come on you know I value your opinion.” She’s flirting I can tell from her exaggerated pose. I look her up and down again. I shouldn’t really. I don’t know what’s wrong with me… Or maybe I do.

I know there’s no hope for me and Sarah. Aside from our physical differences there is Tom to consider. I know she loves him despite his faults. I only wish I could get these thoughts of Sarah out of my head.

I’m sure I was given the wrong logic board on my last maintenance service at the workshop. I recall seeing a faulty board next to mine when the engineer was working on me. Maybe they’ll fix it on my next visit. I do hope not.

I turn my attention back to Sarah.

First Draft Complete – Now The Real Work Begins!

Finally I finished the first draft of Discovering My Suomi Roots on time (by a couple of days!). Now the real work begins!

The first draft I always find hard work. I’m more of a plotter than a pantser that’s for sure. But, despite all the  planning at the outset, I still find it hard working my way through to completion. Somehow I manage to plod along convincing myself it will all be worth it in the end.

My planned structure and content for a writing project always has to be flexible. As I am writing I find other detail I have overlooked for inclusion. Or ideas on how I might tell the story differently suddenly strike me. So there has to be some flex in your plan.

It is very tempting to look back and start rewriting parts of your writing that you know will have to be rewritten. Avoid this! Your focus needs to be aimed at completing the initial draft. Revision comes later!

Once completed, for me, the enjoyable part comes next. I find the revision process much easier. You have something tangible to work with even if you are working with a very rough first draft. My words and thoughts flow easier. I am much more relaxed as the story starts to come to life and take shape.

But without that first draft there can be no revision process!

 

 

 

Writing That First Draft

This is a major learning year for me. Up to the end of last year I had written a few short stories and non-fiction articles. Most of those being assignments for a creative writing course I was studying.

In 2016 I was determined to turn my hand to some larger writing projects and learn a little more about the craft of self-publishing. To date I have released a couple of short works – a personal memoir and a non-fiction title, both about 15000 words each. Not long writing projects by any means, but a big step for me.

Over the last couple of weeks I have begun my next writing project in earnest and I am 13000+ words into it – less than half way. When I started writing I read an awful lot of blogs and articles on the subject. I have tried to pick out advice and tips that work for me to help me along the way.

Here’s what I’ve learned to date about writing the first draft :

The Right Environment

Firstly you need to find the right personal environment to write. No matter what you are writing you need somewhere that suits you. I have learned that everybody is different and has different preferences. Personally, I like to take myself off into a quiet study room, when I am writing at home. No music, just peace and quiet. This helps me gather my thoughts. Either early morning or early evening is when I tend to do my writing, setting an hour or two aside to focus on it.

Planning

I’m a planner. I like to be organised and have structure. Even with a structure I can still be flexible with my writing but at least it gives me the comfort of a framework to work within.

I use Scrivener for my writing but you can use any writing software that you are familiar and comfortable with. I plan out the chapter structure using the cork board option within the program. Once I have completed that process I then plan out the content for individual chapters making notes on the subject matter I want to include. These are easily accessible and to hand within the Project file as is any research I have done.

You should have a basic idea on how long the writing project is likely to be in terms of word count. This is something you don’t necessarily have to stick to unless of course you are writing an article or story to specific word count guidelines. It will however give you an approximate guide of what you should be aiming for. If you have set yourself a timescale for completing your first draft you can then quite easily work out a daily word count target.

Set yourself a daily word count and stick to it. Any deviations should be exceptional. This certainly helps keep me on track to progress and finish the project once I have started.

With everything set up I am then ready to write.

Writing

Write until you finish the first draft. Do not look back on your work with the intent of revising any of it until you have finished. Doing so is fatal, as I have found. It just gives you an excuse to slowdown or stop the whole process of finishing your work.

Your ideas on individual chapter content might alter as you progress your writing. Rather than make any drastic amendments immediately I always wait until I finish the first draft. If need be I make any necessary notes to myself in the manuscript itself. I can always cut and paste chunks of text later into other chapters as part of the revision process.

Usually if I look back on what I have written I see a lot of obvious amendments I need to make. These may be areas where I could have used more or better dialogue, use of cliches, too much useage of particular words or phrases, etc. I leave any amendments until the second revision.

After The First Draft

Once I have finished the first draft that’s when the real work begins for me. Shaping and finalising the writing into a completed work. How many revisions does it need? I need to be happy that it’s as good as I can make it so I don’t set myself a revision maximum. However there has to be a limitation to the number of revisions you undertake to bring it up to an acceptable standard.

I have found writing to be a continual learning experience.

Bargain Books – Amazon .co.uk

My two titles are on sale at Amazon.co.uk from tomorrow at 0.99p each for one week only. After that they are back to their normal price of £1.99.

So hurry, get them at this special discount while you can!

TimmyCover2

Living with Timmy

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Get Fitter, Get Leaner, Get An Activity Tracker!

Bargain Books – Amazon.com

My two titles are on sale at Amazon.com from tomorrow at 0.99c each for one week only. After that they are back to their normal price of $2.99.

So hurry, get them at this special discount while you can!

TimmyCover2

Living with Timmy

GetFitterFinalAmendCover

Get Fitter, Get Leaner, Get An Activity Tracker!