Part Three of the Dead and Talking series is now published on Amazon worldwide.

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Is Writing a Real Job?

I came across a post today which resonated so fully with me.   You can find it here at https://nhwn.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/weekend-edition-writing-is-my-real-job/

I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I was a very young girl.  Unfortunately I lacked in self-confidence and anything and everything would knock the stuffing out of me.  It’s taken me many, many years to overcome this ridiculously crippling and self-defeating issue.  I really needed to get out of my own way.

I came to the realisation, some years ago, that I am perfectly capable of writing, and that I had a very good imagination.  However, it has taken me until very recently to find a medium through which to test the waters, so to speak.  For the past six months I’ve been using this blog to find my writing voice, to try out different writing styles, to stretch myself and discover what I enjoy writing.

Then, wonder of wonders, I came across numerous posts mentioning NaNoWriMo.  Well, I thought I ought to try and see if I could manage to keep up with the demands of writing a 50,000 word full draft in just 30 days.  It was daunting but also kind of exciting.  No-one would be there to tell me what I was writing was rubbish, only me, and I was quite happy with my efforts.  Now I have a first full draft which I will start working on after Christmas; a number of short stories; a whole raft of poems which I will be adding to; ideas for a series resulting from another short story (currently in 2nd draft), and plans for further short stories and novels in a notebook I take everywhere with me.

Whilst I can’t afford to give up the day job, I can afford to follow my dreams and write.

I’m still here – honest I am

I’ve just realised it’s been a week since I last posted, so I thought it was high time I brought you up to date on everything.
I’ve had a busy week, working, cooking, cleaning – the usual, but the weekend – well that’s where it all got interesting for Hubbie and myself.
For the past couple of weeks we have been waiting to hear whether or not we had been successful in adopting a new furry baby. This weekend we had our home check and, as all went swimmingly, we had a phone call an hour later asking when we would like to collect said furry baby. To say we were over the moon would be an understatement. We were ecstatic. We dropped everything and made the 90 minute journey to the rescue centre so that we could spend some valuable time with her this weekend.
We are now the proud parents of a 5 year old lab/collie cross girlie called Mischa. What a little treasure she is. I haven’t yet managed to take a decent photo of her as the weather has been pretty awful and the daylight so short. I’ll post one as soon as I can snap a good one.
I also managed to complete 51,000 words for NaNo by late afternoon today. I’ll keep writing until I finish the full first draft but I’m so relieved that I’ve managed to meet the official target. This week I haven’t been able to keep to my writing schedule at all, with three full days of no words added at all. Still, a week to go and I know I’ll finish it. Just need to verify my word count on the NaNoWriMo site now – once I’ve figured out how to do it 🐶

Monday Musings

I know I haven’t been posting as often recently, my excuse is that NaNoWriMo is taking up all my writing time and I certainly don’t begrudge the time spent writing the first draft of my novel.  I’m looking forward to having it all down so that I can go back over it and start the serious business of editing.  Until then I’m going to enjoy just letting the words stream out in any order they want to.

I’m seriously loving this writing a full draft in just 30 days business, which is what NaNoWriMo is all about.   It’s very strange because I always thought the correct way to write was to think about every single word before it ever met the light of day; to have every character perfectly drawn up; to have the plot worked out properly before I started.  Not so.  It’s stultifying to creativity and it simply doesn’t allow for your characters to develop and find their own way.  At least that’s what I’ve come to understand. Read more

Learning as I go and the deadly power of a river in full spate

Well, it’s horrid outside, the weekend is turning out to be a complete wash out.  High winds, worse further north and into Scotland, non-stop rain, floods and storms.  With no reason to want to go out and get soaked within minutes I thought I’d work on my novel.  So, off to my lovely writing space I went.  I was sat there for most of the day, stopping for coffee and lunch.  I’m really pleased to have rattled off slightly over 40k words by the end of my session this afternoon.  Officially 10k still to write, but I’m aiming for 60k and I know I’ll get there.  I’ve been moving scenes around, new inspiration having obliged me to make a few changes to the basic plot.  Then I’ve had to go back and make a couple of tweaks and changes so that it all makes sense still.   At least, I think it makes sense, I’ll find out for sure when I start editing.

The weather today though isn’t as bad as it was earlier this week.   On Monday, in the town where I work, an 86 year old man died after his car somehow slewed off the road and into the river alongside.  This river runs right through the town, the road criss-crossing over bridges in a number of places as the river wends through.  I walked past the river in the morning, on my way to work, noting how much it had risen overnight.  That was nothing to later on in the day when I left work to drive home again.  Walking back to my car I had to walk alongside the river, the office overlooks it and I park my car further up river and on the other side, crossing a road bridge to get there.  I’ve never seen this river so high and so fast moving.  I didn’t know then that right at that moment the police were frantically looking for both car and driver only a little further down from where I was walking.  The town was congested with traffic and I knew something was up once I was on my way.  I passed the two police cars, with their blue lights flashing, parked up on main road on the way out of town which runs beside said river.  It was on the local news that night.  I doubt anyone expected to find the poor man alive, the river was moving far too fast for anyone to survive no matter how strong.  An 86 year old didn’t stand a chance.  Not that anyone knew who he was, where he lived or how old he was at that time.   Indeed, I’m not sure whether it was known whether the driver was male or female at that point.

On Tuesday morning I had to follow a detour into town, joining a long and very slow moving queue of traffic through a winding narrow country road never made for the amount of traffic that was moving along it that day.  The river flowed to the left of this road as we travelled along it.   Overhead a helicopter hovered, clearly the police had found something.  Further up, following the river all the way, and just past the official town boundary could clearly be seen the battered wreck of the car peeping out of the flowing water, the river level having fallen overnight.  The helicopter, I think, was monitoring the search for the poor man’s body which was announced ‘found’ just half an hour later.

In the summer the river is a joy to watch, indeed I posted an image of the river just a few weeks ago, the trees dressed in their beautiful autumnal colours.  I remember writing something about the view encompassing ‘perfect peace’.  That peace is illusory, the river in full spate is a killer.

Little gems and sticky tape

I wasn’t able to do anything with my novel yesterday, other things having taken up all my time – maybe (hopefully) something I’ll be able to tell you about shortly.  However, on Friday and today I’ve been working on adding another 10,000 words to my word count and  …. yay I’ve done it.  I now have over 25,000 words so, I’m officially, half-way there.

In reality, of course, I’m nowhere near half-way there.  50,000 words does not a novel make, whether or not those words are all little gems  (and they’re definitely not in my case).  A full-length novel will require at least 70,000 and possibly 80,000 words, each and every one of them totally necessary.  There must not be any superfluous words, no fillers, no stretching out of a point already made.  Each word has a role to play, a task to perform.  Some (perhaps far too many) of my words are merely reserving a space for the real word to come along, a lot of the sentences merely holding other parts of the novel together with sticky tape rather than bricks and mortar.  The real writing will come after the draft has moved outside of my head and out into the open … there to stare accusingly at me, demanding that I remove the verbiage and do the job properly.    I can’t wait 🙂

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve found that the story is taking on its own direction, making me follow it rather than direct it.  I’d sort of guessed this might happen but its strange watching it happen as I’m writing it down.  I know I have to go back and change a few things because they now don’t make sense – they did when I wrote them.  I know the plot has moved slightly and I’m fine with that.  It’s much better now anyway.

I really wish I’d done this years ago.

Obsession is a good thing – as long as it doesn’t become obsessive

I keep a notebook with me always now, so that I can write down ideas for poems, short stories, longer pieces of work, whenever ideas drop into my mind.  I know that I’ll forget them otherwise.  I looked at said notebook earlier today, whilst taking a break from NaNo, and found that I’ve written out three ideas for new stories within the past two weeks.   Trouble is I’ve no time to do anything with them.  All my writing efforts are going into drafting my first novel during November.  Thank goodness, though, I’ve written the essence of them down.  Whether or not they ever get any further is another matter, but at least they’re there for when I’m searching for ideas when ideas simply won’t talk to me.

I’m using today and tomorrow to make great inroads into my draft and am really pleased with what I’ve managed to pour out so far.  Over 21,000 words have (almost effortlessly) streamed through my fingertips so far this week, and I’m itching to keep going.  I can type much faster than I can write and I bless my typing tutor (of many, many years ago) for drumming this craft into me.  I’m hoping to pass the half-way mark by the end of tomorrow and have promised myself Sunday off if I manage it.  If I can keep this up then I know I’ll have the real full draft finished by the end of November, the real full draft being quite a bit longer than 50,000 words. But, that’s a few weeks away still, and anything can happen so … I’ll just keep writing whilst the muse is working 🙂

Major goal reached today on NaNo

Sorry for posting this but I had to shout out loud.  Reached my first big milestone on NaNo today  and I’m so chuffed.  I’m not going to claim that the story’s great but I can say that the words are flowing at the moment.  Having the major scenes already set up in Scrivener is helping a lot as minor scenes can be added in as I work.  It’s really helping me to keep on track and preventing me from going off in circles which lead to nowhere.  I hope I can keep up the pace and stick to the main plot as the weeks go past.  I’m setting aside Fridays for major writing days and Sundays for the whole day off.  What luxury 🙂   Monday through Thursday I allow a couple of hours a night and Saturday whatever I can after the usual round of housework, shopping etc.  That’s the plan – I’ll just have to wait and see how it all pans out in the wash.

I’ve found my pub!

After finishing my NaNoWriMo session tonight I decided to try to find a suitable image to represent the pub in my story, The Rose and Crown.  I relax by looking through Pinterest – yes I am a bit weird but it’s very therapeutic.  Anyway, tonight I found the image above.  I know it’s a tea room now, but it’s the very image of the Rose & Crown which I’ve had in my head for months now.  I’ll not be using the image as anything more than a prompt but I’m so pleased to have found it.

Now, if I can just fit some wailing ghosties into my story I’ll be rocking!!

If you’re also doing Nano I hope it’s going well for you.

NaNoWriMo 1st day

Well today started off well enough.  I wrote my first 1000 words for NaNoWriMo first thing this morning,  then moved in to my spare bedroom where my new writing space is now fully functioning and wrote another 1700 words before I started to feel a bit cold.   First day’s writing in the bag.  Then I turned on my smaller Surface laptop to write a post – and it’s dead!  I’ve only had it since March,  how could it possibly be dead?

To say I’m feeling a bit sick is a huge understatement – I’m just relieved that I still have my large laptop  (on which I downloaded Scrivener and which I’m using for NaNoWriMo).

No idea what’s going on with the Surface – its lights are on but there’s no one at home.