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: 1,137 words

Nothing much to tell. Most of what I have written is redrafting of some writing I did last Sunday on the WAY On The Go app which failed to send to my e-mail address once more. I am starting to wonder if it just does not work on Kindle. So it’s only been my characters finally becoming a couple that has happened.

On the other hand, I have done some thinking and it is mostly surrounding a potential new idea for Camp in April and maybe some rewriting or the continuing of writing of other past NaNoWriMo stories. Camp is the place to do rewrites I think, at least for the first few drafts when it’s major changes being done. Of course, this is just my opinion.

The first story under consideration is my November 2014 hotel story with the witch and the werewolf. The direction of the story differed from my original thinking and I think that was the story’s undoing. I would like to go back and rewrite that story, if only to follow the original story idea.

The other is my July 2015 story about the witch from the dark family background. The only reason I stopped writing it is because I needed a break I think, along with the Post-NaNo Blues. I may completely rewrite the story as certain aspects kept changing and I never fully ironed out. Since I’ve had a break and whilst I was writing the story that took place years later, I realised that there was character stuff that needed changing and completely redoing.

Another reason I been thinking about it is because I have bought an etiquette book, reproduced from the 1800’s, for general research as I’ve noticed a lot of my writing lately has required me to think about or research etiquette and deportment among other things for stories. Having a go to guide on hand hopefully will help, especially with my July 2015 idea.

If course I still have nearly two months to think about and decide, as well as the fact I still have the new idea to flesh out and consider. In the meanwhile, I do have my current writing to be doing. Hopefully it will be a little more successful this next week. How’s your writing going? What do you think of the idea that Camp is a good place for rewriting or continuing old stories? Are you thinking about Camp yet or am I thinking too far ahead? Do comment below.

Writing only looks easy. But it can be learned.

Some great words of advice here. Never throw away your old stuff. Keep everything. Maybe, in the future, you can go back to it and realise you can use or recycle some of it.

Matthew Wright

Writing isn’t something you can sit down and do without training. It only looks that way.

Spot my title in the middle... Spot my title in the middle…

I’ve noticed, of late, various posts and comments around the blog-o-sphere along the lines of ‘my book is good, because I got positive comments on Good Reads (or Amazon, or Smashwords), so why did an agent say it was terrible?’

Or ‘I got positive comments on Good Reads, but the agent said the book needed this-and-this-and-this…’

Why? There’s no soft way to say this. Fact is that neither writer nor on-line reviewer actually knew what constituted a good book – meaning not just an abstract measure of quality and authorial competence, but what’s required for a specific market.

Agents do. So do commissioning editors.

What’s happened is that the aspiring writer’s sat down and thought ‘I want to be a writer’ – usually, meaning ‘novellist’. They’ve then churned out…

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Social Media for Writers

I’ve found this excellent web page to help writers to make the most of social media networks to promote themselves and their work, looking at each of the big websites and how writers can use them to their advantage. You can have a read of it here: http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2014/01/22/making-the-most-of-social-networks-as-a-writer/

It doesn’t include ALL the  different social media websites, like Google+, in the main article but have a look in the comments where  Google+ is discussed and all the websites are compared.

Book Review: The Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas by Chris Ewan

The Good Thief‘s Guide to Vegas is the third book in this series and follows Charlie Howard, part time mid list novelist, part time thief,  as he heads for Las Vegas, USA, following events in Paris. No sooner has he arrived is he pick pocketing a poor sucker at a roulette table for his wallet and checking out a magic show. The wallet happens to belong to the magician, Josh Masters, who takes quite a liking to Charlie’s agent, Victoria. Charlie isn’t one to hold a grudge but decides to use the key card he finds in the wallet to have a look round Master’s suite. Unfortunately, that’s when things start to go wrong, not least of all discovering a dead body in the bath tub…

This novel is great fun, written in the first person with wit and humour, and features everything that has come to be expected of Ewan. The series can be read out of sequence (I really need to read the other books!) as very little of the storytelling really relies on past events in previous books. All the characters are full of surprises and keeps you grip from page to page. The events in the books can be a little confusing if you are unaware of Vegas’s strip layout (even after watching over a hundred episodes of CSI:LV), especially the story takes place (mainly!) in two fictional hotels however that disorientation isn’t enough to break the suspension of disbelief and Ewan does explain the location of them at the end of the novel as an author’s note. The events and actions of the characters keep ramping up the danger the characters are in, especially Victoria reveals that she hasn’t been all that honest when playing the tables.  There are also a lot of surprises and twists and turns, making the solution to everything that has happened an enjoyable and satisfying ending.

This instalment is very much aimed at an adult audience as the themes of gambling, threat of death, betrayal, prostitution and sex are extremely prevalent. This might seem like an odd thing to note considering the novel is set in Las Vegas, the city of sin, but the story itself could easily appeal late teens and young adults who might not necessarily like having these sorts of themes so in their face. Of course, society often brings these issues into the public forum and many people read to escape that reality which makes this novel rather gritty and these themes not necessarily appropriate and/or wanted in a novel such as this.

As a rule, I don’t tend to look at reviews before reading a book or seeing a film but, whilst writing this, I have read reviews on GoodReads and Amazon which indicate that this book a bit like Marmite: either you really enjoy it and take the book as part of an excellent series by Chris Ewan or you hate it because the plot is holey and/or the characters are underdeveloped and/or the writing a little rambling. (I would note that the rambling might be down to the fact that the novel is written in first person and Charlie ends up exhausted which often leads to rambling).

In general though, I do like this book, it’s story and how well Ewan utilises his chosen location. It is definitely an adult book and can be read as a one off or part of the series. For me, I intend to track down the other books and get reading. I might end up doing reviews on those books in the future too.