New Years Goals 2017 #SundayBlogShare #Writing

Happy 2017 folks! Hope you had a great Christmas and New Year!

New Years always brings a flurry of hope and optimism with them. After the last year, I think we all need it! This optimism leads to people making resolutions and promises to themselves and others. If you have been around here long enough, you will know I don’t do resolutions. I break them the moment I make them! Instead, I set myself goals I want to achieve. These are either for my own well-being or in the interests of improving my writing.

To say the least, I have had limited success with the goals I set myself last year.

Try to write something every day or every week. Writing every day is not easy. I was either being too lazy or life was taking too much of a priority. Looking at my spreadsheets, it shows that, on average, I wasn’t writing 11 days each month. I was achieving my word counts most months, until I gave myself a new word count after achieving it. This was a short sighted move. I ended the year with a deficit of 4,848 words. I am still proud of that when I compare it to 12,700 word one I went into November NaNoWriMo with.

It hasn’t been all bad on this front. I have been reviewing my word goals every three months. This has proven helpful. It made me reset some of them because of life and how that was going to impact on my writing. This is something I wouldn’t have done without the Word Nerds talking about it in their videos.

Post once a week, every week on this blog. Partial success again that fell by the wayside at the end of the year. I did achieve this, putting November and December aside. I was writing or reblogging something roughly once a week.

Read more. Uh, yeah. I am calling this one a failure. I did read stuff, like the Rivers of London comics and started reading books but did I finish them? Not many. Going by my GoodReads Reading Challenge, I set myself a target of 25 books and read 23. Some were rereads, like Doctor Who Writers Tale: The Final Chapter, quite a few were comics, like Kingsman and Green Arrow New 52 Vol. 1, then there were indie books like Witch At Heart and Preternatural Affairs. So a mix and I did complete some books but I still feel like that I just didn’t read enough or finish enough books.

Participate in as many writing/National Novel Writing Month events as possible. Done and dusted on the NaNoWriMo front but definitely not on the writing event front. I participated in the DraeBox Writers Club challenge, which was a lot of fun. I will be again this year and I am looking forward to it. I am not resetting this goal for this year though. Instead I am replacing it.

Reason being, I think the universe has been trying to say something. Few recent experiences have made me think this. Firstly, I was talking with good friends of mine about drafting. We noted that we seem to always be starting or restarting drafts but never finishing them.

Secondly, I have been seeing tweets about committing to finishing 1 draft of a manuscript in 2017. It’s just typical I can’t find any of them now. This is what got me considering this new goal.

Thirdly, as I was writing this and reflecting on the past year, I realised something. I have spent more time on just one story than I have done in a long time. That story is the dark witch story. I have had some detours but I have always gone back to this one.

Spending so long on it, talking with friends and seeing the tweets have made me want to get at least one draft done. I want to be able to say I have finished something.

So my goals for 2017 are:

  1. Write something at least once a week, every week.
  2. Post once a week, every week on this blog.
  3. Read more and finish books.
  4. Complete at least one draft of one story.

What goals are you setting or pursuing this year? Had any luck with your goals or resolutions last year? Wishing you all the best for 2017!

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#Writing Update

d7a3e-writingWord count: 745 words

Not a big update because obviously not a lot has been written due to tiredness. I have broken the 6,000 word barrier so that’s good, right?

It’s still my FMC talking about the past but I am aiming to push on and have the story actually kick back in. I am tempted to go off track and just write little bits and pieces. It’s not a massive loss as far as I am concerned because this story was just something I started writing and couldn’t stop. As a set of character sketches, perhaps it’s not a bad thing for me to go and write something else with the characters then come back.

As well this week, my mind has played with a vague new idea that does need some development but might become my April Camp story or what I work on next month or some time in the future. It is vague as I said but I do think that there is something in it as it is also drawing upon an idea I had years ago but never used. I believe Russell T. Davies, in Doctor Who, The Writer’s Tale: The Final Chapter, describes it as “Characters In Search Of An Author.”

I guess time will tell about what I write and how the idea develops. Here’s hoping your writing has gone better than mine.

#Writing Update

Word count: 4,217 words

With that word count, it means I have just over 1,600 words to hit this month’s word count target of 10,000 words. I am naturally going to see if I can beat it by way and it is possible with over a week to go of this month. I could also get the just over 1,800 I didn’t get last month.

The main reason for the big word count is the fact that my character (and I) have discovered she is a dab hand at duelling, even with a very basic knowledge of magic. Of course there is some fun to be had with that and is perhaps ideally revealed now as my FMC’s secret has been announced to an after school club she has joined before going round the school like wildfire.

It is earlier than I anticipated but I am realising that realistically, when it comes to names, it would be very difficult for her to hide it and perhaps should have come out earlier. But it is out now and I know I can use it for some fun, especially as she and her classmates have not yet been sorted. All their true natures could come out and make sorting them for the school (and for myself) much easier. I still have no idea how they are going to be sorted or how I am going to make it a magical process. I just know it happens on Halloween.

I am actually excited by the possibilities suddenly opened up by revealing her name now, both at school and upon her return home and still the main plot line is intact. Something mentioned could actually now help play into the hands of it even though it was meant to be throwaway background information about my FMC.

Plan for this week is primarily just to keep writing and keep going with the story. Finish my word count and perhaps catch up last months words too then keep pushing to make my graph look all pretty and nice! As a quick aside, the picture is perfect since the new series of Doctor Who started today in the UK and I stopped writing this post to watch it. There is every chance I might be tempted to keep using it for the rest of this series’ run.

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.

 

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2015: Day 1

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Word Count: 923 words

Characters are being introduced, an indication of the humour is coming through but my main issue is that I am trying to give it something of a sci-fi feel but as I only watch Doctor Who, the new Star Trek films, The Big Bang Theory and the odd episode of Stargate SG1 here and there, my knowledge is limited and it’s difficult. Need be, I will probably just go for telling over showing with this one.

It’s the story I want to get down on paper more than anything and any sci-fi-ness will be a bonus.

July Camp

 

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Yes, I am planning to take part and thought I had my idea sorted until today when I had a bit of a wobble.

I was settled to write a science fiction story but I’ve read an article in this month’s Writing Magazine about making criminal characters enticing and likeable so the reader will root for them. This got me thinking about the two thieves characters I like to write sometimes. I have spoken about them before on this blog because I used them for my July 2013 Camp novel. After today, I was really tempted to either rewrite or continue with that story.

I am now thinking that maybe I should put the crime story aside completely to work on later. The reason I am taking that route is because I have looked at previous projects and realised I have been a bit adventurous (for me) in the stories I have tried to write. The reason I wrote them was because they were interesting to me despite outside of my comfort zone. I definitely have learnt a lot from doing it and whilst I haven’t been totally successful with them, I have enjoyed writing them.

As mentioned in other posts, I have had problems with writing, partly out of writers block, as of late since the last session. I just haven’t had a clue what to write. I have had the science fiction idea, revolving around robotics engineers, for a couple of weeks and it’s based on a really old fan fiction about Robot Wars (called Battlebots in the USA). The idea excites me and I want to write it in a new form, especially as I feel I have improved as a writer and matured as a person to really write it. I was a kid writing about adults.

I know a partial issue with it is lack of planning due to not even knowing exactly what’s going to happen in it in its new form and setting. A lack of knowledge of the genre does not help because I am not a big sci-fi reader or watcher aside from Doctor Who, The Big Bang Theory and some Marvel and DC films and TV shows. I do however follow tech and science news because I have an interested so that may help. I have some idea of what’s going to happen from doing some character planning already and from looking at what I had previously written for some idea of the plot but still, there is this big hole in the story I feel from just not knowing what’s going on.

The story feels right though and I feel I need to pursue it to whatever end next month during Camp.

Are you taking part this session? Has anyone else had a wobble on their story idea? Are you fully planned or like me, probably know just enough to at least start? Feel free to comment.

Film Review: Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War

I know! A film review! Only a quick short one really.

Source: GoodSearch Images

Mrs Caldicot (Pauline Collins) has been kept under her husband’s thumb for years so when he dies, she thinks she has the perfect chance to become independent. Her son (Peter Capaldi, long before Doctor Who) and daughter-in-law however force her into a retirement home where she is drugged to keep quiet and forced to sign over her house to her son. However, when the drugs wear off, she incites revolution among her fellow inmates, leading to her to discovering her fire and creating more change than she anticipated.

This British film does not sound like it is going to be particularly entertaining at first however Pauline Collins soon warms you up, getting the audience to relate to the character through the themes of finding independence and fighting against a system that is wrong through, initially, small acts. Capaldi is wonderful in his role of the manipulative son (attack eyebrows included), with fellow Doctor Who star Annette Badland as the homes cook and Tony Robinson of Time Team fame as chat show host, Nick Reid. There are some laugh out loud moments, mixed in with warm moments whilst also asking questions about the treatment of our aged and elderly that are as relevant today as they were back in 2002 when the film was made.

It’s not exactly a film that would grace TV’s at prime time and is more suited to a quiet Sunday with the family to curl up and enjoy. Not all plot lines I feel are tied up, the ending comes out of nowhere and character development, away from Mrs Caldicot, is minimal, if any happens at all. It certainly could draw lessons from fellow Brit comedy-drama Keeping Mum, which also features a lot of British talent. Some fleshing out and rewriting was needed in places. Unfortunately, this does let down an otherwise funny, warm film.

Definitely a film to curl up with a slow day but certainly not the best. I know I, at least, would rather watch Keeping Mum or Call the Midwife over this.