Sunday, 23 November 2014

NaNoWriMon 2014 - winner! (now where did I put my life!)

'working title' only
My days of rising early to get word counts completed, of zoning out and into character's lives, plots and picturing new scenes at odd moments are over. Yes, friends I have made it. The novel is finished - I have reached the magic number of 50,000 words (and some) with a week to spare, despite starting a day late with the vaguest idea of what I was doing.

When I say the novel is finished there is a ton of work needed on it. What I have is the bare bones of a story with potential. I know the writing has suffered, my characters are not developed fully, the sub plots are almost there but need some additional work for them to gel completely. I got to know characters I wasn't intending to get to know that well as the story dictated. As for research well, that could take ages! (Yesterday at our church Christmas Fair I bought four books for £2, three of which are crime novels!). I've got a bit hooked on crime all of a sudden - I wonder why?

Would I do it again? Possibly not. It has been a great challenge and experience  but the writing did suffer with the speed I had to go at. I will now put it away for a some time and then the first thing I will do with it when I do dig it out again is to read it all through and note down stuff I didn't make of note of while I wrote (things that I forgot later and guessed at or left with question marks), draw up proper time lines and get a feel for what is working and how to improve it. The book on Police Procedure finally arrived yesterday so I will read through that but I fear it doesn't cover all I need. However, my eldest son (bless him) pointed out to me last week that indirectly I do know two people in the Police Force, one of whom is in CID. I'd not even thought about them and it was right under my nose.

First thing to do now is find my life again and start thinking about Christmas. I have lots of poetry 'out there' which I'm waiting on as well as one short story and I have tons of books to read, things to do, places to go.

I don't think I will miss these characters as much as the ones in my previous novel but I suspect that might be because I haven't spent as much time with them, one month as opposed to six months. And I need to return to that first novel at some point.

I did learn a lot from taking part in the challenge. I learned I enjoyed crime more than I thought. It led me to some interesting places and though I struggled I found I could write about some things I don't necessarily know about and that I have more than one story in me!

I already have an idea for something else which is entirely different. It's just a seed at the moment and there is no time for it yet to germinate and it may not come to anything. It's in my head only. But for now I'm winding down as this year comes to an end. I need to take stock and make some decisions.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Getting ready for the final push (NaNoWriMo 2014)

Me age 11
I so loved my day off from writing yesterday. It did me good. However, I did send out a batch of poems. Deadlines were looming and having got caught up in my novel I knew if I didn't get on with it I'd probably miss them.

My visit to the library was one of the quickest on record. I found what I was looking for straightaway and was out of there. In spare moments I am devouring The Writer's Handbook - Guide to Crime Writing. It features articles from the likes of Val McDermid, Ian Rankin and Minette Walters.

With our central heating kicking in at 5.20am (for my youngest son who has an early start for his job) I am awake and downstairs writing sometimes by 6am. No wonder I am knackered half way through the morning. I take naps after lunch sometimes and last night I almost drifted off watching England play Scotland (in fact I missed the first goal). I perked up to watch a bit of Imagine about the German artist Keifer who has an exhibition on at the Royal Academy (do I have time to get there???) but couldn't manage the midnight finish and went to bed with about twenty minutes to go.

I've decided that I must be more active on Twitter and while doing the NaNoWriMo challenge this seems to be the right time. I tweet early in the morning (only weird writers are up then!) and suddenly I have a few more followers. But I've started tweeting about my other interests, especially art and found some interesting people who I follow and they follow me. I am still not quite sure about Twitter but I'm making more of an effort to have some sort of presence there.

Coming back to my novel, this morning I thought I was not going to get started but I've pushed on through. I've had two sessions at it today so that I can reach my own target and have just broken the 40,000 word barrier. I have just under 10,000 words left to write! From tomorrow people are able to load up their completed novels for the official word count check. Some people it seems have got there already!

I've now got to begin wrapping things up. I'm aiming for a big dramatic end but I can't get there too quickly. I have notes for a couple of scenes still to write and then I have to sort out my sub-plots before the final ending. Ah! it all sounds so simple.

Want to have a big push tomorrow if possible because Friday and Saturday are taken up with arrangements for the Church Christmas Fair. Our group is laying on hot food. So I have to cook, put together the new menu and some fliers, get everything up to the hall on Friday afternoon and make sure the tables are laid. Then there is the little matter of the Christingle service in two weeks time - I need to fish out the posters and get them up on Friday! Friday morning is also my sport session where all frustrations will be thoroughly dealt with!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Seventeen days in - obsessed and tired (NaNoWriMo 2014)

I have to admit I've become obsessive over this novel. In the last few days I have been packing in the words and setting my own targets. I live this story and find it very hard to switch off. In fact the longest I've gone without something flitting through my mind was when playing sport on Friday morning! I wake in the night and think about it. In the mornings when I get up I'm full of it and I'm on my laptop almost straightaway. I leave it to go and do something else and I'm working through new scenes. I might go back and write a bit more. I'm conscious of not unraveling everything too quickly. I change pace with new scenes in the hope the reader will want to go on. I throw in some lighter scenes between the more dramatic/serious stuff and try to forget whether my plots are plausible, whether I am running rough-shod over the way the Police work. Hell, I will have a lot of research to do at the end and probably lots of reading,

My novel is taking me to places I never dreamed of. Maybe I should have known by my characters and situations but I didn't quite see it coming.

I like all my characters really, even the obnoxious ones! I created them. But sometimes I think I need a break from them. I was wondering whether I dare to have a day off from them tomorrow. It's been so full on lately and I am well on the way now that one day off won't be the end of it all (I've written just over 36,000 words now). Maybe it will help me see things clearer, give me a chance to let things settle before I head on into the last 15,000 words. There is life out there apparently but I think I've forgotten. I feel tired and often I've found it a lonely process. I've tried to find someone to buddy up with on the NaNoWriMo website but no luck so far and I don't wish to spend too long on the forums as like Facebook, it takes me away from actually writing.

I've done my words for today. I think I'll just slip away into a book and live some other characters' lives for a while!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 - day 12, a struggle

A beautiful sky to look at helps the writing process.
Well, here I am at the end of day twelve and boy it has been a slog today. Last night I realised that some of my plots would not work and I needed to rough out some questions and answers to get to the bottom of it. It took me all evening and a few pages of notes before I was happy. Great, I thought, now I'm cooking. Ah! if only it was that simple. I was up later this morning and didn't really have enough time to do my writing stint before I went off to choir so I didn't get to it until this afternoon. First off I couldn't get a word down and I'm talking to myself, telling myself to type anything even it it's nothing to do with the story and I was about to do that when I began with just the name of my main character and slowly invented a scene. It has been a great effort to hit the word count today. I've managed it though. Such a contrast from yesterday when I wrote like someone possessed. I wonder whether this happened because I was out of routine or it's just the wall they talk about on the NaNoWriMo website.

However, the good part of today was a writing a funny scene which made me laugh. The tea I was drinking went down the wrong way and left me coughing like crazy for a while. All worth it!

The other good thing is that I have reached the 20,000 word mark. I am still worried about keeping the story going without padding it out with useless stuff.

Over the weekend I was off colour. I had a temperature but no other symptoms and Sunday was an awful writing day. But I kept at it and am still on target to finish in time as long as I keep up.

I still find I think about my characters, plot, scenes when I'm not writing and I spend time doing a little research as I go. My main worry is still sounding authentic in the genre. I have sent for a book recommended by a column writer in Writer's Forum entitled The Crime Writer's Guide to Police Practice and Procedure. It should arrive tomorrow. I didn't realise how hard it is find a book on UK Police. I found an excellent sounding one on Amazon and was keen to buy it but I didn't know whether it was UK of US. The description did not say. I read all the feedback comments and finally almost the very last comment said US. I was so disappointed. This could be a very long edit coming!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Positive thought of the day.

I know the writing is going well when I start avoiding housework to write rather than the other way around!

Sunday, 9 November 2014