Friday, November 17, 2017

Get In And Do It! Write!

I've been doing really well in NaNoWriMo, and I've had some great encouragement online as well as offline.

However, in my most recent post on here, one of my followers, has asked me about how I go about how I get my book onto the screen - or paper. 

Well, I find it quite easy now... but I never used to. It's something that takes a lot of practice and once you know how to get your mind into working the way you're accustomed to, you'll just sit down and write.

But, there's a few things you need to get in and do before you put any words onto the screen.

Get out a notebook and write down ideas of what you want your book/s to be about. 
What do your characters look like? 
Who are they? 
What are their likes and dislikes?
Are they vegetarian or meat-eaters?
Do they drive a car or a motocycle?
Are they religious?
What are they dressed in?
Do they watch television or read books?

The list goes on... but the best thing to do is to make a dossier of them by doing an interview with them. This sounds really strange, but it works. Sit down at your computer, pull up a fresh page and close your eyes. Imagine your character sitting in front of you and ask them questions (mentally or verbally - your choice) and they will answer. Type out what they say to you and you'll have their character type all up there on the screen. Do this for each character you've got in your book - no matter how big or small-a part they have - and you'll know exactly who your characters are.

Researching a book can take from a few weeks at a library, walking around a city and taking photos to talking to the police about things or going to your State Archives to look up some serious historical documents. In one of my first books, I had to look around another country. I did some big research around my own country first; then I jumped on a plane and took off to England for a 7-week holiday where I went through 24 rolls of 36 exposure film! I went on a proper tour of the UK, Scotland and Wales and got to see and photograph historical homes, castles and waterways all around the place. I even got to get on some great trains too! What a way to do research! 
Now, I've used some of the photos and my travel journal all these years later for a book of mine titled 'The Tour Guide' which I've finished from last year's NaNoWriMo... and it's turned out great!

Yep, research is one of the biggest things you've got to do for your book. If your background in your book and your history in it doesn't gel, your readers will know - and so will you.

Now, when you get into writing you book, there are different ways of doing it.

You can plan it to the tiniest degree; but that often doesn't work out and you'll give up before you even begin. 

Or...

You can have a rough plan of what you want to do, throw your main characters into the fray and watch them... see what they're going to do and let them tell the story. Stephen King writes his books this way; and I've learned to write mine this way as well. 

But, I have also found that world-building is a huge thing to get in and do as well. If you haven't built a great world for your characters to exist in, you'll not only lose your story, you'll lose the feel for the book and you'll end up losing your readers.

The very first thing you really need to do with writing a first draft of a book, though, is to get it all out on the screen - what I call 'blurging it out!' - to get the story out of your head and where you need to see it. It doesn't have to be perfect... it just needs to be told. Now, it may take up to 3 months to do this - relax, it's not a race (not like the NaNoWriMo), it's your book, take your time. 
My first serious book took me 15 years to write and was over 180,000 words. But I took 3 years to research it and I had about 12 books of research materials to get it written - and I was working full-time for around 3 years of the time I was writing it... so I had a huge first draft which took so long to get out there. And it's still not published.

Getting in and writing is a lonely task. You have be a person who can put up with being on your own for hours on end and yet know it's going to be all worth it in the end... what you have to do is the same thing you would do if you were going to work every day; because you are. With writing, you show up, you do the hours and you enjoy what you do. 

And this is exactly why I love to write.
I'm not doing it for the money.
I don't do it for the awards I might get.
I'm not a famous, published writer.
I write because I love to entertain and I have something to say.
I write because I have stories in my head, I want to get them out.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Over 25,000 Word Mark!

Over the weekend, I hit the 25,000 word mark of my book! 

Woohoo!

This means I'm halfway there to the 50,000 words to my target of 50,000 words. Isn't this great?

I'm totally loving how the book is going too! Every time I open Word, I don't know what I'm going to write, but something happens anyway.

So, how are you going with your NaNoWriMo? 

Is it going well for you? Or are you stuck? 

I hope everything is happening for you in your book... and if you haven't reached the word count I have, don't worry. In my first 2 years, I didn't reach that far either. 

On my first year, I reached around 19,000 words.
On my second year, I reached 23,000 words.

This is my third year, I've reached 25,000 words, and I'm still going... so it gets better with each passing year.

Take your time, don't try to write it all in one hit and write a chapter or two at a time.

I have been writing around 2,000 - 3,000 words a day. Over the weekend just past, I wrote over 6,000 words - but then I felt very burnt out. However, I will be getting in and working on the next 22,000 words on an easier schedule so they'll fly past! Well, until my next post, happy reading and writing.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

How's Your Writing Going?

Are you stuck?
Are you chugging along well?
Are you character having a meeting to get at your last nerve?

Well, I'm letting my characters take the lead and do what is going to happen into their own hands... and my story is taking off on its own tangent. I let my books do this for a good reason - to see how far I can take it; then after it goes too far, I take control again slowly and lead it back along the path I need it to go.

It sounds weird, but it's to flesh out my characters in the way they need to be fleshed out.

In a way, it's kinda like I'm auditioning my characters while I'm writing them into the book... it's to get them comfortable enough to take on their part, then let them jump in feet first into the life I've created for them and - well - allow them to forget that they're not real.

Of course they're not real! I can hear you saying they're not... but in the book, they are.

Now, how is your book going? 
How many words have you knocked over?

Now, it's a first draft, so don't think of this as perfection, think of it as getting it out on the page as fast a you can... edit and perfect it later on.

It's day 11... yesterday, I hit the 19,000 word mark! I'm definitely on a roll!

Until my next post, happy reading and writing!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The First Four Days

It's the first four days of the National Novel Writing Month and I'm going really well so far.

How are you all going? Are you taking part? 

If so, what is your plot about? Are you taking part in the exercises emailed to you? I'm not taking part in any of those exercises, and I'm doing this from home... as for my plot? Well, it's still forming.

So far, I've written over 6,000 words in just 4 days!

This is great! I set aside a time - anytime - during the day and just write about what my book is about... and I use up my 2 hours or so in almost no time at all! Over that time, I get a lot done. Sometimes, I get writing done, sometimes I get editing done... whatever I get done, it's all good.

Well, until my next post, happy reading and writing.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The First Week!

It's only three days into NaNoWriMo, and I've gotten almost 5,000 words written of my book for this month. And with the rest of the month to go, I've still got 45,000 words to write until the end. 

Now, not all my books are that long, but it's always nice to get them blurted out onto the computer screen and ready for editing for the next year... and I love to create new worlds during this month - and besides, it keeps my brain going making up new stories and characters.

As you can see on the sidebar, I've created another textbox to let you know how far I've come each day... now not every day will be the same big numbers, but I'll be writing every day and trying to get up to 2,000 words or so a day. This will keep me going to my goal of 50,000 words by November 30th. 

And if the book isn't finished? Well, I hope to find that I've bypassed that 50,000 word mark and keep on marching on with it to 80,000 or even 100,000 words to make the book even better than the last one I wrote. 

Wish me luck!

And if you're taking part in this great way of writing a book, I wish you the best of luck in this challenge as well. Until my next post, happy reading - and writing! 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

NaNoWriMo - Next Week!

Well, with this great event only days away, I'm really getting excited and working out ideas for what I'm going to write.

Unlike last year, I actually have a bit of a plan about what I'm going to do this year. 


I'm following the pointers I've been emailed from the site. 


I'm going to write for around 2 - 3 hours per day; no matter what I've been doing - this means, I'll get up to about 2,000 - 3,000 words typed up each day once I get going.


Because it's a first draft, nothing will be held back; so I'm going to be working on getting my story out as fast and as much as I can.


Last year, I was going to meetings at the local library, but I found that they didn't work out too well - this is unfortunate - so I'm doing my NaNoWriMo here at home where I'm comfortable and able to concentrate better.


And the main thing: I may be off the internet for a while, unless I'm on here to update my word count every three days (I promise I'll do this as much as possible). 


Otherwise, I'll be looking at my last book - 'The Tour Guide' - as well as other social events on my calendar; as my life does become more busy at this time of year. 

So, are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, keep us updated in what you're going to do with your month of novel-writing. Until my next post, happy reading - and writing! 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

NaNoWriMo Prep

With National Novel Writing Month just a few weeks away, I've been in preparation mode.

Now, if you've done this great - and challenging - way of writing a novel, you'll know it's a very stressful way of getting your ideas onto a computer screen very quickly, pulling them together and writing as much as you can in a short amount of time; then logging it onto the NaNoWriMo site every day or so.

I've been doing it for only two years, and have written two lovely novels from it. However, just the first draft of those novels gets finished a the end of that month and then I spend most of the rest of the year rewriting and redrafting it just to get in and start on another novel; while I'm working on getting the first one published. 

It's fun, stressful and amazing all at the same time... and it gets a writer writing their best - or worse - stuff! However this year, I'm going to be doing it here at home. You see, last year, I attended a group; and even though there were only two of there, we had a lot of interruptions, there was only a 2 hour time limit and I wasn't all that prepared for it.
At home, I can concentrate in the comfort of my house, in a nice comfortable chair and the privacy of my home office. If I don't want to be interrupted by the phone, I'll just stick the cordless in the other room... and ignore it for the hours I'll be working on my NaNoWriMo time.

It'll be a lot easier for me to work on my books here... plus I'll be able to bring food into here; whereas the at the library, we had to smuggle food in there and were scolded by the librarians for doing so (yep, that old-fashioned value still sticks today).

But I'm more prepared this time around. I've been thinking of what I'm going to write, taken down some notes, have done some research and now I'm more than ready to get my writing brain into NaNoWriMo next month! 

How about you? Are you doing this great exercise in book-writing? Are you up for the challenge? Well, until my next post, happy reading - and writing!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Writers Groups

Yesterday, I was supposed to be at a market. However, due to weather problems here in Brisbane, it has been postponed for 3 weeks.

So, here I was sitting at the computer fluffing around on the internet, when I was invited out to the Logan Writers Group morning meeting at the Beenleigh Historical Village.

I had no idea where it was (so I Google Earthed it).

I really didn't want to go anywhere (I was really settled in).

I packed up my writing stuff and left the house anyway.

There's nothing better than being spontaneous about something in your life. And yesterday was a good day to get in and just get out of the house for the first time in a week.

The traffic wasn't too bad on the roads and I'm glad I did get away from the house and noise of the unit complex; as when I got off the highway - at the right exit, surprisingly - and around to the place, I found it very easy to get to the historical village.

And since it's been a long time since I was there last - around 3 years - I found there's been a big museum built, concrete pathways laid and better toilets as well as an industrial kitchen. The cafe also serves breakfast! Now, that's a great thing to have in a place like this! This means this place opens at around 8am... and when you're a tourist and you have friends staying who like to get going early, there's nothing like a good place to go to bright and early - which is a museum as well - and it serves breakfast!
Well, I arrived, found the cafe easily and also found the only other member of the Logan Writers and joined her to sit and write. But first, I grabbed something to eat and a nice hot latte. Yep, writing certainly takes it out of you!

I sat there for 3 hours planning my NaNoWriMo for next month. I planned who my characters were going to be, what the plot was going to be, and how it may end. I'm still not sure how things may wrap up, but I figured out the name of the second character and how the first one gets to talk to them in the first place. This is good, because when I arrived there yesterday, all I had was an idea, a character name and the brief half a chapter written up... so I did get a lot done.

But we did get a lot talked about with our writing, about editing, publishing and other things not about writing as well. This was a good day out! Then, after the battery on our laptop and tablet went flat, she went home; but I stuck around the the Historical Village and walked around. I took some great photos of the place (for another story idea I had and an art project) and then I walked into the post office and found two typewriters they used in the Chronicles of Narnia films! Now, that was a great find; as I love typewriters! Well, until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Favourite Reads

It's October. It's that time of the year where it's Spring here in Australia and Fall/Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere; and it's the perfect temperatures everywhere to settle in and read a book without either sweating in the heat or freezing the snow.

It's also the time I get out some of my favourite books to read again... yeah, I love to reread books sometimes. Now, I haven't read that many books this year; but I did get through a few in a month or two over June or so when I had Laryngitis... and that was good. I'm reading other books over the last month; and have just begun 'Lisey's Story' by Stephen King - a great book I've had on my shelves for over a year; and yet I haven't read it yet.

I thought to add to this post a list of my favourite books as well, so you guys can see what I love to read otherwise. Some of these are books I've read years ago, while others have been recently added on.

'84 Charing Crossing Road' by Helene Hanff
'The Stand' by Stephen King
'Jigs & Reels' by Joanne Harris
'Time and Again' by Jack Finney
'The Wave' by Moreton Rue
'A Patch of Blue' by Elizabeth Kata
'Somewhere In Time' by Richard Matheson
'From A Buick 8' by Stephen King
'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - The Trilogy In Four Parts' by Douglas Adams
'The Day of the Triffids' by John Wyndham
'Snow Crash' by Neal Stephenson
'The Spare Room' by Helen Garner
'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde
'I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings' by Maya Angelou
'The Monkey's Mask' by Dorothy Porter
'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury
'Love Is A Mixed Tape' by Rob Sheffield
'He Died With A Felafel In His Hand' by John Birminham
'Other Colours' by Orhan Pamuk
'Old Man and the Sea' by Ernest Hemmingway
'Red Dog' by Louis de Berneires 
'The Bee-Loud Glade' by Steve Himmer

I've read about 9 of these books more than once; simply because the author has that wonderful way of pulling me in as a reader. This is something I've been working on doing as a writer myself over the years I've been writing books, stories and poetry - and believe me, when the hook and the story reads effortlessly, that's when you know it's been worked on the most. 

So, which books have you read the most from your collection? Or do you read a book once and that's it, you move onto the next ones in your Mt TBR pile? Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Chilling Out In the Heat

Today is the first day of only a few where I'm not doing much - well, okay a little housework, but not as much as I'd normally do. 

I'm not editing anything because 'The Tour Guide' is off being read by my First Reader. And I'm looking into getting the cover done over the next month or so.

And I'm also waiting for my business cards to show in the mail from Vistaprint as well - in time for the markets next month.

So, I'm going to finish up the archiving of my files in the green box and the purple boxes and put them away this weekend. And I've picked a good weekend for this as it's a real stinker of a weekend here in Brisbane.

I'm hoping to get this room all finished up before Christmas - as I believe that no matter what, slow and steady wins the race. If I rush in cleaning out books or cleaning out the business side of my life, I'll toss out something I really do need. 

I know that sounds weird, but it's true.

There's also the NaNoWriMo coming up as well, which I'm hoping to take part in again this year. From the past two years, I wrote some great works and got in and did some interesting books from that month of writing. I wrote 'Angel Love' and 'The Tour Guide' during the last two years... I wonder what I'll get done this year? 

Well, that's all I'm up to at the moment. Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Home Office Clean-Up

I haven't done much reading lately. But this is mainly because I've been decluttering the home office; and haven't had the time to get in and read any of my books which I normally love to read at this time of year.

There's three archive boxes blocking up the room, along with synthetic bags sitting around with bank statements and bills in them... and I've also got rubbish bags waiting to be used for rubbish - and so far, I've tossed out three bags into the bin outside.

However, I have found some written work I've been looking for and put that away to transfer it all onto the computer - this will take time as there's plenty of other work to get onto the computer and to file away as well.

Otherwise, I'm trying to find a book I read in 2010 titled 'The Traveller' by John Twelve Hawks. I found a letter I wrote to my niece - but never posted - and what I wrote about the book in it was pretty good; and I started looking for it last night to see if I could add it to my Mt TBR without success. I'm hoping to get in and find it over the weekend... I know I didn't throw it out and it's not a Bookcrossing book either.

Well, what are you getting up this weekend? You know I'm looking for that book to add to my pile of reading, and I'm also going to look at editing something for publishing. Then, I'm going to send off some of my work to one of my First Readers to see how it goes over. I really want to get something published this year. Well, until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Inspiration

Writers are asked where they get their inspiration every day. But we can't answer that question the same way each time we're asked; it's not possible.

Some of the most famous people get their inspiration for their best-known works from the most mundane things in life. 

Haruki Murakami keeps to a strict routine of health and fitness when he's writing a novel. He says the repetition of it keeps him inspired. 

Daniel Handler says that noticing everyday things and was his way of being inspired. He saw everyday events and took them in a different way or perspective.

Richard Siken started painting after he published his book of poetry - 'Crush' - and felt he didn't have anything else to say. So, after he started painting, he began writing about painting - first about himself painting, then about other paintings. He also reads books he loves; then to push himself to write, he'll read something he hates as well. The latter makes him get in and work on new work.

Ann Patchett's way is to consider everything; then weeds out what she can't use - there's no good or bad inspiration. She says: 'Most of us are full up with bad stories, self-indulgent stories, works of unendurable melodrama. We must get them all out of our system in order to find the good stories that may or may not exist in the freshwater underneath.'

So many other writers take a different take on how they become inspired. I got the above authors ways from here

But there's always the ones we already know of; like Agatha Christie, who got her best ideas while washing up. Stephen King always takes an afternoon walk - even now - every day (with a book in hand). 

How I get my inspiration is to work on other things besides my writing. I've taken up painting, and when I'm working on that - which works a different part of my brain altogether - I can figure out what needs working on while I'm painting. Other ways I become inspired is to get outside and work hard in my garden... this is most especially in Winter when my garden is dormant and my plants need repotting or upgrading to bigger containers. Otherwise, I get in and knit or do needlepoint - which doesn't sound like I'm doing much, but it's all do with with my hands, while watching my favourite tv show on dvd: 'Supernatural'. And man, do I get some great ideas from there? Of course I do! Well, until my next post, happy reading - and writing.