New Years Goals 2019 #AmWriting

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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.

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Mammal Memes

The first one is from a book/FaceBook page called Off The Leash. I highly recommend it!

purpleslobinrecovery

Here’s some mammal memes “fur” all you pet lovers in the house!

dog in bed. tell husband sofa is freecat on other side of window meowing

turtle on his back thinks he's flyingcat walked thru panoramic picture of living roomcard is llamanated

every bunny was kung-fu fightingRemember this song???

koala sleeps 22 hours a dayAnybody else but me????

And just one more for today.

black kitten hiding in plain sightI see you, kitteh!

See y’all nextMeme Monday!!

Fur

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Summertime Madness Book Tag

Quite unexpectedly, I got tagged for this challenge by Amanda N. Butler.

Anyone who knows me will know I am not actually a Summer type of person. Give me rain, Autumn leaves, snow and Winter’s cool embrace! That’s when I am at my happiest! But for now, let’s see how I get on with this challenge:

Show a book with a summery cover.

Have to go with Bloodlust by Alex Duval, the first book in the Vampire Beach series. When Jason Freeman’s family moves to the exclusive DeVere Heights area of Malibu, he finds himself surrounded by the most beautiful people he has ever seen but is there more them than meets the eye? I think this might have been the first teen book I read in high school, during the Twilight/vampire craze and made for a nice change.

Pick a fictional place that would be the perfect destination for a summer holiday.

This has taken some thinking about but I think the place I would go bizarrely is Lockwood & Co.’s haunted Britain. I know it’s not a destination but I would love to explore it and discover what is happening outside of London. We get some idea what is going outside of London during the first book when Lucy talks about her road to joining Lockwood and George.

 

You’re about to go on a flight for your summer holidays but you want to read a book that lasts the whole flight. What novella do you choose?

Probably Hotel Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones. This is not exactly a story as such as every story told and all the information, compressed into one person’s 24 hour shift, are all true we are told and only the names of the guilty have been changed. It shines a light on the human condition when we step into a hotel of any sort and any star rating.

You have a case of summertime sadness – what book do you pick to shine a smile on your face?

Had a hard time deciding this one as I have a few books that make me laugh but the one that is always at hand it seems is Texts From Dog by October Jones. Inspired by the Tumblr blog, this book compiles the best-loved “texts” from dog, contemplating everything from bath time to the relationship man and man’s best friend.

You’re sitting at the beach all alone…which fictional character would be your beach babe?

This was a tough one but I think I would go with Henry Fitzroy, the bastard son of King Henry VII, from Tanya Huff’s Vicki Nelson series. Blood Price details one of Vicki’s PI cases where she is investigating a series of murders and comes across Henry, who is investigating to try to protect his vampire secret. Of course that would mean the beach at night but if he appears in the form Kyle Schmid, who played him in the Blood Ties TV adaptation, that’s fine by me!

To match your ice cream, you want an icy cool sidekick! Which fictional sidekick do you pick?

Out of two demon possibilities, I think I would go with Sebastian, Lord Phantomhive’s one Hell of a Butler from the Black Butler series. Tied by contract to little Earl Ciel Phantomhive, the Queen’s Guard Dog, Sebastian is out to help Ciel find the people who killed his parents, burnt down his home and hurt him. Once Ciel has his revenge, Sebastian will devour his soul.

The other demon I considered was Eclipse from Demon Diary.

And I am tagging Legends of Windemere’s Charles YallowitzTales From Baggins Bottom’s Diane Wordsworth and MyLittleBookBlog’s Lizzy Baldwin. Hope you guys don’t mind.

#Writing Update

Firstly, sorry about the lateness of this. I was going to do it on Saturday but life had to take priority. Secondly, forgive the hashtag in the title. I am experimenting with Twitter still.

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Word count for last week was 2,319 words. I was intending to rewrite the first chapter of my novella that I wrote a while ago but in the end though, all those words ended up coming out of my Camp story and an idea that was demanding to be written.

It is so frustrating to me that I haven’t managed to sit down and do the rewrite, especially as I might have worked out how to get past the block I’ve had with it. The first chapter has been and, still is, the part I just cannot get past and rewritten because of the nature of it being a lot of exposition, without there being too much obvious exposition. Perhaps it is my subconscious telling me I need to work on the new idea for the first chapter in relation to the rest of the story that is preventing me from writing it. In other words, planning! This is something which many of you may know is not exactly my strong suit outside of “basic idea and outline but may change.”

The idea that wouldn’t leave me alone, which contributed to the word count too, is just a mission for my magical spy character from my August 2012 Camp NaNoWriMo novel and her best friend who I think might become something more to her after all. It’s a little thing that could come to nothing but at least it is out of my system and may allow me to learn more about the characters. It is set in the same world as my novella so may actually be why my brain has offered up the idea, to reintroduce me to the world since the spy character is the original character that spawned the whole idea  That cannot be a bad thing, surely?

The Camp story is hitting a stride again after the train journey. When my FMC gets among more students, it might help. The fact that there is still more exposition should add words rapidly as well as giving me elements to play with for  later in the story. I’m wondering though when to have my FMC’s big secret come out? I know how she gets back into the good books with her classmates but that I feel is contingent on the secret reveal. How long can her secret be hidden realistically within a closed school environment? I know how rapid a secret can get out and around a classroom from experience but keeping secrets, well, that is not exactly territory I know about. Can anyone help? I would be very grateful for any advice offered.

All of this is not necessarily bad as I am at least writing but at the same time, it gets me no closer to getting my novella to the stage I feel I can be sending it out. It’s annoying and yet fun which makes this a sort-of problem but not entirely. Does that make sense? I suppose not.

So what are my intentions at least for this week? One of them is to try and finished the idea story that has plagued me, with the aim of just getting it out of my system as stated above. My other aim is to keep going with my Camp story. I think I also need to make time to sit down and go through the novella MS, mark out the story as is then look to previous drafts to see what I need to put back in perhaps before looking to see how the new opening would affect everything else that happens.

So those are my intentions for this week. I will just have to see how many actually come to fruition. I am still reading the latest Alex Verus book, Veiled, by Benedict Jacka and I have read the latest issue in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London comic, Body Work. Both of which are big influences on the original idea for the novella and I know they influence all of my work in some form so it may help to keep me writing.

Foxglove Summer Map

Ben Aaronovitch, writer of the River of London/Peter Grant series, has done another location map for the last book, Foxglove Summer. Head on over to Google Maps to check it out.

Also, don’t forget to pick up your copy of the Rivers of London five-part comic series. Released July 15th and only available in comic book stores and digitally, the story takes place between the fourth and fifth books and sees Peter look into a case where cars are coming to life and killing their owners! The series is written by the author himself, alongside former Doctor Who show runner Andrew Cartmel, with art from Lee Sullivan.

From Aaronovitch’s blog: To find your local comic book store, go to FINDACOMICSHOP.COM for the UK and North America or use Search for a Comic Shop which says it is for everywhere else.