#Writing Update June 2019

Word Count: 2,595 words.

A quick update. May turned into an interesting month.

Various RL stuff, including some that could or will impact my immediate future, means that my writing has continued to be a bit sporadic but I am keeping to one of my New Year Goals of writing at least once, every week. It was touch and go about if I would hit my target for the month of 2,500 words but I managed it in the end.

Last month also saw me starting to foreshadow certain things whilst tying up some plot threads that were threatening to be forgotten. I have been able to potentially find a way to start a mini subplot I have been wanting to put in as a bit of fun too. I have also discovered that the BBC series, Gentleman Jack, about Anne Lister, the lady they call the first modern lesbian, to be quite inspiring for the Hallie chracter in particular but also the Simone character. Something rings true between the two stories so I think the series is going to be joining ITV’s Victoria as inspiration help for the WIP.

Even so, I think fatigue with the Hallie WIP is also starting to set in, possibly because some planning and rethinking is going to be needed, for me to be able to move forward. I love the WIP and the idea but I just hitting a point where I think I am going to be switching to the SDR (Steampunk Dragon Rider) WIP for a while.

Never hurts to switch things up instead of being stuck in a rut.

Because of the changes in RL stuff, I have had to review my targets for this month and the rest of the year. My targets were already fairly low already: 2,500 words per month for June-August, 1,000 words per month for September and October and 500 words per month for November and December. I have felt it necessary to lower my June-August targets though as a precaution. My new target for this month and the next two is 1,500 words. It feels more attainable whilst still being a challenge, all things considered. Hopefully, it will keep me going, come what may.

How are things going for you? Happy writing everyone!

#CampNaNoWriMo Week 4 (& A Bit!)

Campasset-Twitter.jpg

Final April Word Count: 5,759 words.

Nearly doubled my word count since the last update. Not bad considering everything that has been going on personally in the background. To quote Homer Simpson, DAMN YOU REALITY!

The scenes that followed on from where I had left off from last time did indeed write themselves with ease. Before I started writing again, I have had to be looking stuff up about UK courts, youth justice, murder sentencing, 5* hotels and high end fashion. I guess it is true what they say about a writer’s Google search history. I promise, it isn’t as random as it appears!

When I did get writing, I had a couple of short scenes, a glossed over travel scene before going into a new bunch of unexpected descriptive and expositional material. This helped my word count along nicely and introduced Hallie into a new world of luxury that she is going to be living in, as well as a few new characters that even I didn’t know about. It has been fun discovering the new characters, including one that I can feel myself getting attached to already.

It has been fun to write this contrast and it feels right as the character’s background is so different to what she has and is about to experience. I guess it is an unintentional theme throughout this particular WIP: the differing living experiences of the poorest people in society versus that of the richest people. (I am sure someone can explain it much more succinctly than I have). Hallie has experienced being dirt poor, then a middle class life with her foster family and is now living life (somewhat) of the very rich. It will be a nice bump as well for the character for when she begins school. It will give her a differing view of things when she interacts with her future classmates.

Now that April has ended up, I will still be working on this WIP obviously. I know where I am going and what I am doing with this one so I may as well keep going and put Steampunk Dragon Rider (SDR for short) on the back burner to jump into when I hit a wall on the Hallie WIP. I did get a Steampunk Comic as part of Free Comic Book Day yesterday so that could get the cogs whirring on that WIP when I need it. Life yet could get very unpredictable so going with the WIP that is easiest for me to work on right now seems to be the right thing to do. Something to escape into when I need it.

How did your Camp NaNoWriMo go? Did you win? Did you have fun? Whatever happened, you are amazing for going for it and I hope you are going to continue on this crazy writing journey we are on together.

Camp NaNoWriMo Weeks 2 & 3

3-WriterTwitter_cover

Current word count: 2,852 words

A bit overdue but it is Easter Weekend so I have a little time to catch up.

I wouldn’t have been able to report anything for week 2 in any case as I actually wrote nothing due to real life need to be the priority. That is happening a lot as of late as anyone who follows me on Twitter knows.

In the end though as last Sunday, I ended up writing for quite some time and actually finished my Camp word count! I didn’t even realise until I went to update my word count on the Camp website and the Excel word count sheets I use. That was a nice surprise plus anything I write now goes towards the deficit that has been building this year.

A lot of the words actually came from the fact that I just jumped into a big turning point scene that is very important to the plot and the character as a whole. I have been struggling with this for a while due to the nature of it and how best to reveal everything. I just had to force myself to write it and it actually proved quite fun. It also included a few tidbits about other characters and the backstory that I hadn’t thought or didn’t know about before. Birth certificates, newspaper stories and letters are very good ways of doubling word counts I have discovered!

I have also used something I have noticed that Persona 5 does when you see any dates mentioned. The year is always written out as 20XX, to make the story timeless I guess? Either way, it proved a good way to write out dates and street addresses without having to work them out properly. I’ll either leave them that way or go back maybe and update them later. Either way, it is a good way to mark the passage of time without actually being specific. It also makes me want to have a good gaming session on that game. It is amazing and worth tracking down!

The scene gave me a potentially fun subplot to play with at some point too: the powerful, cruel and evil King of all Demons, suddenly having to pay child support for his 16 year old kid (plus loads of backpay!) This idea is very funny to me for some reason. Curious as to how anyone else feels about it. Feel free to comment on it.

Going forward, I have a few scenes that pretty much write themselves which will add more words and hopefully get me moving forward again. I definitely need it with this draft but I feel this is tighter and better than the previous one so hopefully this will keep being the case.

I hope Camp or whatever you are working on is going well too everyone! For UK folks at least, I hope this long weekend is going to aid you greatly in improving your word counts.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2019 Week 1 #AmWriting

3-WriterTwitter_cover

First week of Camp NaNoWriMo and I have written a grand total of 1,059 words. Not bad to say my target is 2,500 words. Most of those words have been written within the last two days as life hasn’t been kind as of late.

What I have written though has been good for world and character building though I am struggling in how to reveal a very important piece of information. I have a feeling I am going to end up just info dumping and letting it be sorted out in the future if I get that far. Hopefully I will.

Not much else to say really. This was just a quick blog post to aid accountability and get me use to writing blog posts in this new (to me) format on WordPress. Hope things are going better for anyone else doing Camp!

New Years Goals 2019 #AmWriting

business identity blank stationery set on wood background

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Hello folks! How are you? Once again, I have managed to neglect this blog. There’s been a few more changes this last year personally for me and again, it is my Twitter that I am turning to rather than here.

The world seems to have gone that bit more insane this last year, what with Trump still in the White House (somehow!) and Brexit turning into a bit of a mess shall we say. This time next year, the UK will have left the EU but whether it will be with a bad deal or no deal remains to be seen. The UK has had the Beast from the East and a scorcher of a summer. Both caused trouble, giving us Brits plenty to talk about in relation to our favourite subject: the weather! We’ve had a royal birth, 2 royal weddings, the English became convinced football was coming home and once again had their dreams crushed. The world also lost an icon of pop culture in Stan Lee, a man whose work was loved by millions around the world and probably encouraged some of them to become the creators of the future.

With all that in mind, it feels right that my success and failure in completing my 2018 goals was very much mixed:

1) Write something at least once a week, every week.

Not a complete success on this one but that’s not been a bad thing. My yearly target was 38,000 words and I have written 52,320 words overall. I cleared my target for the year in September despite having missed some weeks and taking a break in the same month. I also succeeded in writing every single day of November, so I could get all the challenge badges for consecutive writing days.

I ended up taking a break because I was experiencing burnout. I suspect it was because I had been working on the Steampunk Dragon Rider WIP, a project had developed quick in a few months and is in a genre I don’t have too much experience in. I needed to step back and recharge my creative energies. I don’t normally do this but I reached out to a writerly friend of mine, @Draebox on Twitter, who gave me some advice and made a video about the question:

I came back from the break stronger. It helped me work out what I needed to do. I will elaborate when I get to goal 4. Like last year, I have been reviewing and occasionally adjusting my targets every 3 months to help me keep writing even when things in RL have got busy needed to take priority. Any adjustments have always been down to enable me to create a buffer should I need it later in the year. This has worked a treat as it took the pressure off me for the last 3 months of the year (very busy ones for me).

Looking ahead to 2019, again I will be keeping this goal. Not because I didn’t succeed but because it works for me.

2) Keep this blog active, somehow.

Yeah, this is a big fat FAIL! I think I know why I have not succeeded on this one for two years straight: it is simply not achievable for me. At least, not right now. Writing and life and other personal stuff means that even taking 10 minutes to write on my blog even once a week with a writing update that I use to do is just not possible for me it seems.

I have started using an app/website called Habitica in recent months that lets you set goals and tick them off as you achieve them. You can set goals to reoccur at certain intervals and I am tempted to put a blogging daily on that is set to occur even just once a month but looking at life and how I have not managed this goal for two years makes me think it would be a waste of time.

With that in mind, I think it is time I retired this goal. It is not possible for me. I will just have to hope that I can at least be doing something on this blog when I have a chance I guess. In time, if life allows me, I will try to return to regular blogging.

3) Read more and finish books

Whilst not a complete success, I have at least been reading comics and some books. Granted I have also had to check GoodReads to see what I have read this year. Mostly comics rather than books but I have at least been reading and I will take it, all things considered. Rather than reading, I have been watching a lot more YouTube videos and gaming more. I have recently started playing Persona 5 and it’s story is incredible. I feel I can learn a lot from it about pacing but I also think I need to be putting the game controller down and reading more.

Going forward into 2019, I think I am going to adjust this one to simply read more.

4) Continue to work on the Dark Witch and Dragon Rider projects.

This one is definitely a success because I have been working on both projects all year, flicking between them. That isn’t to say that there has not been problems or that I haven’t been writing Destiny fan fiction.

I mentioned above about having to take a break due to the work and nature of the Dragon Rider project. The break though served me very well as I realised that I needed to step back from the Dragon Rider project and it made me see what I needed to do on the Dark Witch project (known as the Hallie WIP on Twitter).

The Hallie WIP was in a mess and all over the place because of how it had developed since even January of last year. I had to stop writing and do some planning, replotting and world building. I have also been writing stuff that takes place later on in the timeline for the characters. This helped solidify and understand who these characters were and their eventual place in the world. In turn, I know what I needed to do and how to remould the characters for the very start of their journey. This has helped me when I made a fresh start on the project for November NaNoWriMo. That fresh start has been a slight slog but I know the WIP is stronger and better for it.

As part of the world building when I have not been writing the WIP, I have began learning Welsh. Why? Well, the WIP has lost at least some of it’s Steampunk-ish feel, taken on an Arthurian Legends base and I am using the basic Welsh version of the story to help me. This also led me to realise therefore that the language of magic in the world is Welsh. I know it seems crazy to be learning it purely for a story but I want to make sure everything is right when the characters speak it.

The Hallie WIP has been my main focus for 8 months of the year. The other 4 have been taken up by the Dragon Rider one.

From a plot bunny that bit me and refused to let go of me in November 2017, this one has developed from a barely coherent story, plot and world building into something more solid. It does mean that, like the Hallie WIP, there is some mess and disjointedness but at the same time, this one also feels like it has developed and settled much faster once the work was put into it. I also feel that, unlike the Hallie one which could run on a bit, this one is more finite (and shorter!). With that in mind, I think I do have time to be working on the Steampunk aspect to make sure it is ingrained in the story rather than window dressing. The story I feel could take care of itself (with a bit more planning).

I am therefore keeping this goal obviously and hopefully, both will be much further along this time next year.

My goals for the next year are as follows then:

1) Write Something, once a week, every week.

2) Read more.

3) Continue to work on the Steampunk Dragon Rider WIP and the Hallie/Dark Witch WIP.

How has your 2018 been? Successful? Mixed? Otherwise? Feel free to comment below.

New Years Goals 2018 #MondayBlogs #amwriting

how-to-achieve-business-goals-800x533

Image from Google Images

So, uh yeah, hi folks! Hope you had fun over the last year and the holidays. As you may have guessed from the Twitter widget, I have pretty much transferred there for my writerly web presence. I should probably write on here much more often. Even the way you post and format on here has changed.

Anyway, this last year has been crazy. Life has changed quite a bit as have my habits I guess so it is little wonder my online presence has changed. The world in general has changed quite a bit I think as well. Between Trump and the Republicans in the US, Brexit here in the UK and all the madness that has resulted from that and other things, it is hard to feel excited for the new year but I think hopefulness should be the main feeling for this new year. Hopeful that things will work out better and that I will stick to my goals this year.

For now though, last years goals:

  1. Write something at least once a week, every week.

I did not quite do once a week, every week but I did succeed in achieving my yearly writing goal.

The yearly goal was 38,000 words. I ended it with 57,937 words, nearly a full 20,000 words more. Not too shabby all things considered. With how life has been, it’s not too surprising I didn’t succeed in the weekly writing but I am proud nonetheless. I wrote.

I also continued to review my goals every 3 months and never increased them once I achieved them. This made my goals all that more achievable, no massive word debts and far better suited to how my life is now.

For this next year, I will be keeping this goal. It seems achievable and the 3 monthly review of my word counts is also working. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right?

  1. Post once a week, every week on this blog.

Yeah, this one failed obviously but as I said, it’s because I have pretty much moved from here to Twitter. I am really enjoying using Twitter and it is fitting a lot better with my life right now so it seems obvious that Twitter should become my main social media platform. Even so, I do feel bad for letting this go by the wayside when it is something I have worked pretty hard on.

For the next year, perhaps my goal for this blog should be to ensure that I am attempting at least to keep it active. How I am going to succeed in that I don’t quite know right now. If anyone has any suggestions, I am open to them.

  1. Read more and finish books.

Again limited success because of how life has been. I have been reading a lot of comics once more and shorter books here and there but nothing actually in the way of reading fully. This is something I am going to have to work on for research and writing purposes.

For 2018, I am going to keep this goal to ensure I do read but try to use it to it to help me with my writing. You will see why possibly in the next bit.

  1. Complete at least one draft of one story.

I failed this one (sort of) but not for a lack of trying.

I was genuinely working hard to finish the draft of the dark witch project but I think it was a little ambitious to hope to finish it last year. The story is feeling much bigger and complex than I thought it was going to be so maybe it is for the best I did not complete this one. I am still working on that project (I’ve invested way too much time not to I don’t think) but I am also enjoying working on a Dragon Rider plot bunny that bit really hard just before November last year. I now have two projects on the go and both are having a steampunk-ish feel to them I think so I at least have some crossover with them.

Going back to the “sort of” bit of the first sentence in this section, I am saying that because I did finish writing and posted a couple of bits of Destiny fan fiction. So I did finish drafts of two stories. That counts right?

So 2018 will see me continuing to work on both projects I think with the aim of getting majority of the drafts done. I will also have to do quite a bit of reading and research as steampunk is something I have attempted before without much success. If I want to make both story drafts steampunk (or at least steampunk-ish), I am going to have to put the work and effort into it so make it happen.

To summarise, my goals for the next 12 months are:

  1. Write something at least once a week, every week.
  2. Keep this blog active, somehow.
  3. Read more and finish books
  4. Continue to work on the Dark Witch and Dragon Rider projects.

How did you guys do over the last 12 months? Successful or not so success? A mix? Please do comment below and if you can offer suggestions about how to keep this blog active, I would be very grateful!

Have a great new year guys!

#Writing Update and #CampNaNoWriMo

Once more I have neglected this blog. Not intentionally. Purely because, well, I forgot about this! Oops!

As you might have guessed from the picture above, I am doing Camp once more next month, working on the same WIP that I have worked on for a few months. Since I am aiming to get words written every month, I might as well. Been assigned a Cabin today and there’s a few Twitter tweeps I might connect up with too. If you are doing Camp, feel free to say so. Target is set at 25,000 words but there’s a chance that will drop yet.

As for words written last month, I had a target of 2,500 words and hit 6,509 words so some words ahead. Not all the words were on my current WIP, the magic school story though. Some of the words were, bringing in a story line earlier than anticipated but it did show some character stuff so not all bad. I also wrote words from events many years later after getting stuck, which did get me thinking about some world building stuff I need to work on.

I then went off the story to write other bits. I ended up writing a very quick Destiny fanfic that I posted onto Tumblr and may yet get rewritten or more fan fics spawning from it before beginning to write a second WIP that I have worked on before alongside the current one, the slave story.

I will take the words at least because it’s better than being stuck and writing nothing, right?

So far this month, whilst melting in this heat wave, I have continued writing events that happen later before writing small tit bits relating to these Pride month prompts. Current word count is 2,739 words (239 words beyond my 2,500 target).

Having been forced to take a break, I think I might be able to return to writing what I should be writing in the WIP. That break has also highlighted to me that getting a complete first draft of this done by the end of the year is just not going to happen. The new target is to get somewhere near a complete first draft by the end of the year. All things considered, this seems to be a more plausible target.

How are things going for you? Good, bad, indifferent? Entering Camp next month? Any advice for me on keeping going? Please do comment below.

Monthly #Writing Update: April 2017 #CampNaNoWriMo

Word Count: 4,808

192 words off target but considering how busy I was last month, I don’t mind. This is also going to be a quick update as there is not much to really tell.

Most of it covered my FMC learning a new game. I am still messing with the idea and considering dropping it all together. I am not sure it adds anything to the world but it gave me words at least because of the amount of exposition. Giving up on the game led to me then getting stuck as I had no idea what to write next. I had run out of planning due to me not having thought that far ahead if I am being honest. I started this story with just a concept and planning up to a certain point.

The last week of Camp I was in Cardiff and managed to write a grand total of about 100 words. All of those words were written on the train home and came from me jumping ahead to something that happens later. I added more words on the last day of Camp as I tried to hit 5k but it just didn’t happen. Whether it was laziness, panic or something else, I don’t know. I just didn’t hit target.

This month then is just about keeping going, trying to figure out what to write next in this draft so I can be completing it by the end of the year, per my yearly goals. How is everything for you? Congratulations if you finished Camp and congratulations still if you even wrote a word!

What are everyone planning for this month? Same story or moving on? Any plans to enter July? Don’t be afraid to reply below.

January, February & March 2017 #Writing Update

 
 
Happy time zones folks. Life likes throwing in surprises and spanners and that has led to me not posting here. Writing wise, I have been much more successful.
 
Save for any words I write today I am on 17,926 words for the year. My target for the end of this month (March) for the year was 7,500 words. Whilst it is good over all that I am nearly 10.5k ahead, it is even better with Camp NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow. It is looking the next month is going to be very busy for me so having a buffer that I can use is going to be very helpful. The buffer is intended for the end of the year but if I have to use some now, so be it.
 
Majority of what I have written in the last three months has been my FMC’s first week of school, meeting classmates, teachers and first lessons. Seems a lot of words to spend on it but I am also aware that this draft is an absolute plantser mess! I have accepted that. I am focused on getting it written, not getting it right. The next draft is for tightening up and getting the big picture stuff sorted. I have also written some stuff that happens a few months later in story time. It connects with what I had written in December.
 
When I have not been writing, my mind has been on world building, new ideas and solving certain issues that had come to mind. Particularly, my thoughts have been about certain secrets and possible plans for the future. I may actually write some of the future stuff now, if only to get the ideas out of my head. My focus though is on completing this draft though.
 
Plans for the next few months is to keep writing, keep pushing for one completed draft of this story. Right now, I am reconsider certain word counts. A certain life surprise means the original goals I had set are now unlikely or pushing it too far. Take next month for example. I had planned on getting 10,000 words written during Camp. That goal has had to be revised down to 5k to accommodate it whilst also giving me the push to keep writing despite it. In May and June, I have set a target of 2,500 words each. These goals are based on what I wrote last year. All things considered, I am leaving them as is for now. They are attainable and any extra words will add to the buffer.
 
How is your writing going at the moment? Planning to enter Camp next month or in July? Had any problems or is everything going well? Do comment below.

Monthly #Writing Update #amwriting

d7a3e-writingI know. New Years Goal failed about the blogging part! Life taking priority once more.

On the upside, final count for last month was 4,669 words. Not too bad going. It does mean I have already started creating a buffer for myself that I strongly suspect I am going to need.

Majority of what was written was about the raid of the house and FMC going to Oxford to be with her grandparents. Also ended up writing background stuff for two other characters, the traditions that the my FMC’s family and my MMC’s family have before getting stuck between two possible ways for the story to go. The first revolved around my FMC’s father showing up and sharing a brief bonding moment over the FMC’s cat and the second, which had just one sentence written before I abandoned the idea, was intending to start the romance story line earlier than intended but it felt too soon and possibly forced. Stuck where to go, I jumped back to where I had left it before and started writing about both FMC’s first day at school.

Might seem a little odd writing two versions of the story but I had no idea which way to go and, after tweeting about it, @Draebox suggested writing each to see which one worked. It didn’t fully work but it did help. Writing background stuff did help as well, both for word count and for background, even if most of it will disappear at a later date possibly.

My word count goals were created or even copied over from/using my data from last year but after this last month and considering how life is and could go over the next few months, I think I might have to consider adjusting them further or even just suspending my belief that I will hit them. The main goal for this year is just to get a draft completed. I also failed to write on 18 days this past month. Granted it means I wrote on 23 days of the month but I know there were days that I could have written on, even if it was just writing a few sentences into an e-mail on my phone. That would still have been a few more words and a bit more productivity.

In that vein, I think I need to look to finding a community and joining in with challenges that will help that goal as well as finishing the draft. I hope these links will help anyone reading too.

As well as the NaNoWriMo challenges (the Camps in particular), I have signed up to a new challenge on the DraeBox website called The Free Story Starter 14 Day Challenge. You can find all the details in the link. For me, I am hoping it will help me to keep pushing and make sure I write everyday as well as helping me prepare other materials for agents, etc. I have also been participating (when I can) in the #Storycrafter chats on a Sunday run by @Writerology. The community has been very welcoming and I am hoping to take part in more. Finally, there is a challenge I discovered through the Storycrafter chat this past Sunday that started today. Called #FebWIP and run by @reagancolbert97, it asks questions to be answered from the protagonists POV. From looking through Reagan Colbert’s Twitter timeline, she runs the WIP challenge through the year with different themes.

For the next month then, I will be aiming to write on as many days as possible, doing the above challenges or participating in chats and hopefully, continuing to build on the buffer I have created for myself.

How did your January go? How was your word count? Do you take part in the above challenges or chats? Plan to? Have others you take part in? Do comment below.