Monthly Archives: November 2013

I’m so burnt out I can’t even think of a title for this blog post…

I’m sure I’ve said this before but I’m going to take a few weeks off writing.

The last time I said that, the break lasted approximately three days.

But this time I really am. Honestly. “Ooh but you can’t call yourself a writer unless you write!” I can almost hear the purists yell. “You have to write, even if it’s a little each day.” Well here’s news for you. I do write – every day. I write a diary, I write tweets, I write a blog. I write in my head. Constantly.

So when I say I’m taking a break, what I mean of course is from my work in progress.

So why am I taking, what will be, a three week break?

Well there’s a few reasons.

Firstly I want to concentrate on some reading. I (still) have a (ever growing) stack of books in need of my attention with worlds to immerse myself in and so I want some time to focus more on that. The only problem with that is, once I read, I automatically have ideas for writing (vicious cycle). However  I will resist and spend the time fully concentrating on reading. I hope. I think.

Secondly, Christmas is looming. Evenings will need to be spent sneaking presents down from the loft to wrap up – in shifts. Christmas cards will need writing – in shifts and shopping will need to be done – again in shifts. So time to sit down and write will become, I know for sure, increasingly difficult.

On top of  all that my main reason really is that I have just completely changed the opening to Prophecy of Innocence after two years of having basically the same beginning to the book. It is totally different and I have also entered the new start into a writing competition. But changing the opening means a lot of other changes need to take place and so I need some time to reflect on how to do this. I also know the rehash of chapter 5 (mentioned in my previous blog post) needs doing and quite frankly I am probably putting that off a little. (Coward.) Furthermore I don’t feel able to do much more on book 2, simply because book 1 is now in a state of flux.

Finally ‘real’ work is busy with marking end of term assessments and planning the next part of the curriculum. So until I break up for the holidays, I will be a little snowed under. I’m not very good at just snatching snippets of time to write. I need a good chunk of a day or evening to really focus and concentrate on what I am doing.

So, once December 20th hits and I finish work for two weeks, I will be able to dedicate most evenings to writing and go back to my WIP with fresh eyes – again! I have no idea of if or when I will ever finish this trilogy. Perhaps by the time I’m 60 at this rate.

The sneak a peek page on this blog has now changed. If you read my original opening chapter you’ll notice the difference. I hope it’s for the better. A fellow writer I met over Twitter seems to think so and my gut told me so.

And as I keep telling myself lately I should follow my gut more, that’s exactly what I’ve done.

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Epic Edits

I have just finished reading a blog which has yet again made me question my work in progress.  ( http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2013/11/top-25-ways-write-awesome-book.html )

Not in a bad way. In fact it was thoroughly comforting to read the 25 tips and realise just how much I have learned about this writing a novel thing over the past 11 months. It was also possibly the most useful blog I have read which seemed to encompass everything one would need as a guide to writing a novel. I got to thinking though that I wish it had been there over two years ago when I started. But then I changed my mind and realised without having gone through the process of writing it would have meant nothing to me before hand.

So what has reading this blog meant for me and the progress of Prophecy of Innocence?

I knew I had to do a massive edit on point of view. Having so many characters (as  my work in progress is a fantasy/ quest story) point of view is proving really difficult. Especially as I don’t  really have, and never had planned on having, one main protagonist. This is mainly due to the fact (confession alert) I never did make much of a plan. I had no story arc or character arcs. (What were they?) In fact I had no characters! I just had a plot. Quite a loose one at that.

Reading this particular blog made me realise this is okay to a point but on the other hand characters drive plot forward so I was a little naive to think I could write a good story without giving character much thought. However, as I wrote my characters started to develop their personalities. Unfortunately this meant endless editing and revision because I had to ensure the characters did not do things at odds with other things they did or said.

This has led to me writing character information cards but this has proved difficult as I am doing it with hindsight. But then I read “THE BLOG” and I realised I needed to give all of my main characters a ‘need’. I realised I hadn’t given them individual goals. They had a common goal but this was the plot goal and so the characters became quite two-dimensional in many ways. They didn’t all necessarily have their own voice.

This is why I am struggling with Chapter 5. It involves three of the more minor characters, so P.O.V is proving difficult. The main(ish) protagonist  is not there but I need the chapter and he can’t be there. (I thought about him being there but he can’t be!) So I dislike the chapter intensely right now.  I hate it because I know it is way inferior to the previous four chapters and worse I know what I need to do to fix it. I need to give these three characters more individual goals and develop their personalities rather than rely on the main goals of plot. This involves a lot of hard work and I already feel over two years writing one book is a tad on the epic side. But I guess that’s what happens when you start on something you know absolutely nothing about.

I think I am slowly being driven insane by my ever increasing knowledge of the writing process, but I am determined to get these books right, however long it takes.

Hope you can keep on with me as this epic journey continues.

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These Things Take Time

Writing a novel really does take time and so I admire anyone taking part in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as Twitter users abbreviate it to).

I have to admit until two weeks ago I knew no such event for the month of November existed. November is, after all, the month of speeding towards the inevitability of Christmas. November is renowned in Britain for spending the first few days exploding gunpowder in elaborate firework displays to commemorate some guy who tried to do exactly that to the British Houses of Parliament in 1605. More recently, November has become known as “Movember” whereby men across the land grow a moustache to raise money for awareness of men’s health issues.

But now I discover there is yet more to November. When I started to see #NaNoWriMo on my Twitter feed recently I thought everyone had started speaking robot or had been beamed down from planet Ork. Intrigued, I investigated and discovered NaNoWriMo is an annual event whereby writers write a novel in a month. Yes, that’s what I said. ONE MONTH!

I cannot even for one moment, (or even if I thought about it for a month) fathom how this would be possible, mainly because I am now up to 26 months writing my novel. Just the initial draft took 14 months to write but I would never have been happy to submit that to anyone other than my mother. (Thank goodness she was the only one who saw it in such a rough state. )

11 months on and I am still working on it. (Like I say, these things take time.)

This week I have just reduced the word count of Prophecy Of Innocence Book 1 to just over 71,000 words from 73,000. Not because I needed to reduce the word count at all, simply because I have just slashed out a huge proportion of the first chapter.

What on earth possessed me to do that? you may ask. (Unless you write yourself – in which case you will understand.)

Well the reason is I decided to enter a competition. The competition requires a submission of the opening chapter (or first 2000 words) of an original children’s novel. (http://www.leicesterwriters.org.uk/) This criteria confirmed for me something I already suspected about the opening of my novel; that is some of it is superfluous and unnecessary. Sure it describes the world and some of the setting in detail and although if you read on to the second chapter it all fits and makes sense but as a stand alone it just wasn’t a strong enough opening. Keeping it means a time lapse in the story. An unnecessary time lapse I see now.

It was painful to cut out, I won’t lie. It’s been there in one form or another for over two years, so it was like severing a friendship in many ways. Also it is painful because I really want to keep some of the vivid description but now I am going to have to move it elsewhere which means more editing. Sigh. So you see, I couldn’t write a novel in a month. Clearly I need at least 25, if not more!

I have joked many times this feels like the Never-ending story. Perhaps one day I will be a good enough writer to have an idea for a novel and write it in a month. For now though, I’ll take my time. We’re not quite at journey’s end yet.

Good luck to anyone out there taking part in National Novel Writing Month. You must all be very mad or very talented or both!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

If interested, you can read the first 2000 words of Prophecy of Innocence here on the Sneak a Peek page of my blog. I would be happy and grateful to receive any constructive feedback.

 

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Filed under Editing, Writing