Shameful!

I cannot, really cannot believe that it is a whole year since I last posted. I am deeply ashamed of myself, and try as I might, I can find no plausible excuse for so neglecting my blog. I promise to be more attentive in the future. So here’s a quick ‘catch-up’ for anyone who might be interested.

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I cannot, really cannot believe that it is a whole year since I last posted.  I am deeply ashamed of myself, and try as I might, I can find no plausible excuse for so neglecting my blog.  I promise to be more attentive in the future.

However, I’ve not been totally idle and I have been working on my fantasy novel and have managed to increase my word count to a little over 56 thousand words. Hopefully, some of them at least will survive the editing process if I ever make it to that stage. I have found that even though not all of my time has been taken up with the actual writing process, I have been spending hours on research and to my delight the story is now following a more cohesive course.  I feel my characters and background have far more substance now, and my protagonist(s) have better direction.  They seem a lot happier now too, despite all the problems that beset them. The writing process is a fascinating one for me, as my characters take on a life of their own, developing little quirks and habits that may sometimes irritate me, but make them more believable.  They are becoming scarily independent and frequently make choices that I hadn’t foreseen, or stubbornly refuse to go in the direction I want them to move to.  Or sometimes a new character will introduce him/herself and demand a role in the story.  A debate then ensues regarding their importance or lack of, and do they move the story on or are they just a distraction.  All of which leads to a whole lot more thinking on my behalf.  Do I need them, or do I not? Am I right?  Or are they?  At this stage, it’s often difficult to tell but all of which is leading to rather more interesting (I hope) results.

I did start out in November – as I have done for the past three or four years – with every intention of completing NaNoWriMo. But as usual I fell at the first hurdle after completing only a couple of thousand words.  The fireworks at that time of year caused one of my dogs to go into a complete panic and injure herself rather badly so my attention was on her and her ongoing veterinary treatment, rather than my fantasy world. It has all been rather traumatic, but nobody loves you quite like a dog does, so she has to come first right now. She is my darling fur baby and deserves no less.

* * *

Once again Christmas is creeping up on us at a rapid pace (Creeping?  Galloping, more like!) but for once I have managed to get ahead of myself and have bought and wrapped the gifts, written cards and have started filling the freezer with goodies. This was helped somewhat, by my re-discovering gifts that I had bought a few years ago and had hidden away and forgotten all about. Wonderful!  That meant I was actually 2 years ahead of myself and rather less shopping to fit into my schedule.  All of which leaves me more time than I usually have at this time of year to put fingertip to keyboard and get tapping, although it also indicates that it really is time I sorted out some cupboards.  Who knows what other goodies I might find hidden away?

Anyway, with all that, and Christmas coming too, I’ve been rather busy.  However, that does not excuse my lack of input here over the rest of the year.  I really should keep this up as it does get the creative juices flowing, and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next.  Even though I would love to be published – as would most people who write, I am thoroughly enjoy the journey my characters are taking me on, so whether a book deal ever happens or not, I’m having the time of my life.

And on that note, I shall now replenish my coffee cup and move over to Scrivener and carry on.

Nearly there…

…By which I mean we are nearly into yet another New Year.  This year, or rather next, I am absolutely determined to concentrate on my novel. I have made such promises to myself in the past and precious little has come of it.  That is why I have stuck my neck out and gone public with my intention to publish in 2014.  I am hoping that having popped my head above the parapet and admitted my dreams to the world (or that small part of it that reads this stuff), that I shall force myself to continue to write, and to actually complete the project and see it published, since to fail yet again would be rather embarrassing.

There is, I think, some inner fear in me that, even though I am over 27000 words in, I don’t have whatever it might take to carry on, and I have used the ‘Oooh! Christmas is coming…I have so much to do…’ excuse to stop struggling with plot and characterisation etc and sit folding bits of paper over oddly shaped objects.  It’s easier to wrap a chocolate teapot by an open fire than it is to write the next line, particularly as lately my characters have been going ‘off piste’ all by themselves and acting in a very peculiar fashion and I have no idea how to get them back on track.  Does that happen to you?  If so, please tell me how to discipline them.  I don’t want to squash their imaginations, and I admire their creative spirit, but I would like them to do what I want occasionally otherwise the story that I imagined will turn into something else completely.

Which on reflection, might not be a bad thing…I digress!

So, that said, how do you discipline yourself to write?  What advice would you give to a dreamer with the attention span of a gnat and the self discipline of a two year old 😀  

Do you have a nagging parent, spouse or significant other who lovingly reminds you of your resolution?  Is your muse/conscience sitting on your shoulder like a dead weight, or does he/she/it give you wings?  Do you have some wonderful technical gizmo that goads you into action without any urging on your part?  If so, please let me know what it is and I shall download it immediately.  I do love a gadget. But whatever means you use to stick to your keyboard and produce your words, I would love to hear how you stay motivated.  

Or perhaps you are just superbly driven, disciplined and motivated.  

Oh, how I envy you.

I wish I was.  

Happy New Year, one and all.

 

 

 

 

The Muse at Christmas

 

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For the last few days, being taken up with all the preparations for Christmas, I have been elbow deep in flour making pastry for sausage rolls etc, knee deep in wrapping paper, and up to my eyes in tree decorations, which has not left very much of me free to write.  I have been inwardly bemoaning the necessities of Christmas preparations taking me away from my keyboard, and given that I have been itching to carry on with both blog and novel,  it has all been a bit frustrating and I have even found myself on the odd occasion, looking forward to an end to all this festive stuff – I know, I know, ‘Bah Humbug!’  I hear you cry – so that I can put the metaphorical pen to the virtual paper once again.

That is until it occurred to me this morning that actually, all the preparations, time consuming, and enjoyable as they are, have been anything but a hindrance to the creative spirit.  For although I have had little time to do other than change the occasional word here and there in my novel, dot the odd ‘i’ and cross the errant ‘t’, my mind, whilst being overtaken with the practical, has been off on a wonderful flight of fancy and I find that I have garnered quite a few new ideas.  Suddenly my protagonists have taken on a new dimension and the plot does indeed thicken.  I am really excited now, and have made use of my Kindle to jot down notes and ideas as they have come to me and I realise that far from being a hindrance to the creative need, the Spirit of Christmas has actually proved to be my Muse.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas, whatever your faith, and a peaceful and productive New Year and as a famous literary small boy once said  ‘ God Bless us all, everyone!’

 

Excuses, excuses…

Of late it has occurred to me that I may well be using the excuse of having Writer’s Block to prevent me from getting to work on my novel, when what I really mean, if I am being honest, is that I am prevaricating.  Nothing to do with real Writer’s Block at all.

I seem to be able to find all sorts of reasons not to sit down and actually engage brain with muse and continue with my story.  I check my emails, my Facebook page, I sit with a cup of tea and play some mindless game for half an hour before finding all sorts of pressing things I have to do before getting down to writing.  At this rate it is a wonder that I have actually managed to churn out over 27,000 words.

But whatever I choose to call it, the end result is still the same – time wasted and nothing written of any importance.   Yesterday, however, I had very stern words with myself and managed to knock out 500+ words, so after the famine of the last couple of weeks at least something got done and my protagonist has been born and lost her mother all in one sweep, or as an old neighbour used to say ‘In one foul swoop’!

This has given me plenty to work on and at last I have a clearer idea of where I am going with this.  But for today and tomorrow it will have to be in my head as I really do have other things in the form of an adorable small child, which, for a short while, have to take centre stage.

The Fairy Child
The Fairy Child

But I would really be interested in how you cope with the dread blockages to the creative process.  Do you let it sit in the way of your creativity and wait for it to get bored and move on, or do you put up a fight, and if so, with what?  I’d love to hear your views.

Serendipity

A dictionary definition of Serendipity:  the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

The other day I downloaded a very useful app courtesy of Writing Magazine, on the subject of epublishing.  As advised I set up this blog, and will shortly be opening a Facebook page and Twitter account to chronicle my adventures, mishaps and joys as I journey along the novel writing road.

The app also suggested that no matter how careful one is in proof-reading and editing one’s own work, it is a good idea to employ a professional Editor who will look at your work in a dispassionate and realistic way, not being so close to the piece as to overlook errors, nor being a lovely friend or relation who will say it’s good regardless, because they are careful of your feelings.

‘Good idea,’ thought I.  ‘I shall look into that when I am closer to publishing.’  And almost immediately forgot about it as I continued to tweak my blog page.

However…

As luck would have it, sitting in a local pub with my husband that very night, we got into conversation with a lovely man, Mike, who played for us on his violin, told us of live music playing this Sunday evening, which was music to my ears (pardon the excruciating pun) and told us that his line of work was proof-reading, copy writing and…yep. You’ve guessed it.  Editor!

Serendipity or what?