Friday, January 12, 2018

Haven't Been Reading

But I have been writing.

And that's a good thing. I've been writing Flash Fictions over Christmas - about Christmas - and have been working on my NaNoWriMo book from last year - and it's looking good too!

Okay, there's a few inconsistencies but I can work through them; as any good writer will tell you, we can make anything work.

I've been slogging through 'The Shining' but with this horrible heatwave, my focus just isn't on it just now. It's just not working for me... and so I'm trying to sleep more and ignore the heat.

I know that sounds terrible; but the book is next to my bed as are my reading glasses! They are right where I'd grab them when I can't sleep, but I've found myself reading the same page three times before I realise I'm not getting anywhere in the book.

So, I'm not reading - and haven't been - since this heatwave started just around Christmas, and I'm looking very forward to the time I can and will read more soon. But writing and editing my NaNoWriMo is something at least; especially seeing I'm in an air-conditioned room while I'm doing it. 

Well, that's all from me for now... how's your reading world - and writing world - going, especially after the crazy season of Christmas and New Years Eve? Mine's pretty quiet... the car's power steering died, and my little green car's at the mechanics. While she's there, I'm driving Mum's 'Green Beastie' Pajero... and it's a hell of a 4X4. Keep forgetting how much power it has. Otherwise, at least it's getting me places. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

Well, it's the first day of the new year and I'm excited!

I've been writing in the last month or so of 2017; and editing a book as well. I've also been trying to get my Mum to read 'The Tour Guide' which is a book I wrote in 2016 for NaNoWriMo - but she's yet to get in and do that. 

Might get it off her and have somebody else read it for me. I'd like to get in and do something with it.

But I've been reading lately... well, okay, in the last half of 2017, I got in and read a bit - around 6 books in 4 months; which isn't bad really. But, I really should read more this year. 
And I'm going to start with 'The Shining' by Stephen King. I started that over Christmas; and will finish it over the next month or so, as I'll plug through around 10 - 15 pages in each sitting. 

I will get through this book - then start reading 'Doctor Sleep'; the second book to it.

And then, I'll see what I can do about the Mt TBR by the door of my office; see if I can make it reduce by a little if I can. 

I have read a little bit of poetry by Robert Browning lately - through a book I bought myself for Christmas; and found I love his words. They are just so wonderfully written - as though he's writing down every thought... even if they're a bit muddled.

Otherwise, this year will be a year where I will finish books, instead of starting books and then not finishing them. 

What are you hopes to do this year in the reading stakes? Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Shameless Promotion!

I've been reading a lot and writing a lot too.

And for somebody like me, that's a good thing! But right now, I'm writing a Flash Fiction Christmas Series... yep, it's a good fun one which I thought I'd go all Charles Dickens on.

Now, if you remember, way back in the day, Charles Dickens wrote a set of stories which he made into a series of short stories/books and people gobbled them up!
I'm doing something very similar with my flash fiction blog where I'm writing 300 - 500 words per story section and posting it; leaving you - my reader - hanging until the next day.

The story is called 'Saving Christmas' - and so far, I'm up to Part Three with a few more parts to go; how many I'm not quite sure. But it's going to be fun finishing it off!

So, if you're interested in reading it, start with 'Saving Christmas - Part One' and then look for the next parts following it... which I have put labels on for the sidebar (yep, making it easier to find for you too!). 

Have you tried anything like this before? If so, let us know about it and share a link the comments. Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Been Away On Holidays

Hey everyone!

I'm sorry I couldn't put up a post where I was because the laptop I was using has memory problems; and that means no blogging.

But I arrived home yesterday, did a spot of grocery shopping, chucked on the laundry, soaked the lawn - as it's been so darn dry here in Brisbane - and then unpacked my clothes! 

...and now? Well, I'll let you in on what I've done with my time at Brunswick Heads.

I caught up with my reading. I read over 50 pages of 'The Shining' by Stephen King! Yes, I'm up to part 3 where the Overlook Hotel is closed and Jack Torrence is beginning to fix the roof and everything seems okay.
I also got in and did some editing work on my NaNoWriMo piece. I'm on my first sweep of it and it looks great so far... but it looks like I'll be working on the chapters individually, not the whole pdf; as it just doesn't seem to make sense yet. Oh well... I'll see what happens when I do get it finished.

Then, I went op-shopping for Christmas pressies - as Brunswick Heads is chock-o-block full of op-shops and I found 2 books for my Dad. One is about Doc Hollywood - his memoirs actually; and the other is about a sea captain who was also a writer, artist and an actor! Woah! Talk about talent! But I guess we'll have to wait and see what goes on with that one, right? Well, I don't have any photos of either book as I have already cleaned them and wrapped them up and their under the tree for the day the Big Guy in the red suit shows.

So, there you have it: my 4 days away and I did really well in the reading, writing and op-shopping book-shopping stakes. Well, how are you all doing at this time of the year? Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

What Now?

Okay, I would have written this post last week, but my computer monitor snuffed it on me; and I didn't want to be writing this in a public library with three high school students reading the post over my shoulder.

Which they did read my last two post-writings from my other two blogs until a librarian told them to move on and it was rude to read what people were writing on a computer... to which one said, 'Well, why are they writing it here then?' 

So, there I was wanting to write the next post about the NaNoWriMo and what we do now about our 50,000 words and what happens with it all... which is: wait a month.

Yes, we wait a month until around January where we get in and start on the editing and fleshing-out process of the book. This could mean that the book goes from the initial 50,000 words to over 80,000 words... oohh... look at that last number! That's a real book there, dear reader/writer!

I'm looking forward to this part, as I've written so many books and yet they don't really get off the ground as well or easily as they would if they were edited properly. 

Now, with the 'what now' part of the process, I'm hoping to get this book finished by around March or so. 

So, yes, this is the fun part of the writing for me... I love to pick apart my work and make it sound better, look better and really make it become a living breathing creature from my imagination.

Okay, I've spooked you enough. Now, it's close to Christmas, I'm going to be busy during these holidays too... so I'm hoping to get in and do some reading of any books around the house, and declutter my home office too. So, do tell us what you're all going to get up to this holiday, now you know what I'm going to get into. Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I Am A Winner! 50,000 Blasted!

Late yesterday afternoon, I blasted through my last 5,000 words for NaNoWriMo!

I received my certificate and online party from the guys overseas! It felt great to finish the first draft of my book!

Yes... my first draft.

During this month, I've not only finished the draft, I've also put up a cover picture and changed the title - twice!

So, how have you been doing with your NaNoWriMo?

Have you begun seeing the finish line on the horizon? If not, don't worry, you'll get there next year; or over the next few months. 

For this challenge, there are no failures, just people who love to write books - and isn't that the main thing here: too keep us writers on the ball and writing our fingers off?

It sure is! 

After my 3rd attempt at this challenge, I finally go to the 50,00 words with just 2 days to spare. Now... please do let us all know how you went on yours. Until my next post, happy reading and writing! 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

300 Words From 40,000 Word Mark!

I'm so proud of myself!

After today, I'm only 10,000 words from my target of 50,000 words - then? Then, it'll be a few months of me fleshing out the book and making it really read like I want it to.

So.... how's your book going?

All good?

All bad?

All in-between?

Or... have you given up?

Now, if you've found it's fallen flat, don't worry, look a few posts down and you'll read again that I only got to 19,000 words or so on my first attempt on this write-a-novel-in-a-month thing... and I'm sure it took even the most ardent writer of this great challenge a few attempts to get in and write the 50,000 words in a month - and then to get the word count over 80,000 words (which is a good-sized novel) by March the following year.

Don't be discouraged by not making it through or feeling as though you're ploughing through waist-high mud. We all feel like that sometimes... if you didn't make it this year - there's always next year.

For me? This is the first year I've made it to the 50,000 words; and I will do it again next year! Until my next post, happy reading and writing!

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!