#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.

Image Source: GoodSearch Images

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.

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Are Subplots Necessary?

I automatically include sub-plots when writing and inevitably, they are romance sub-plots. Is this just me or does anyone else find themselves doing this?

Into Another World

A subplot is a mini-story woven into your main story. It could involve your main character having two things going on at the same time (such as finding love while solving a mystery) or it can involve secondary characters having their own issues.

Now you don’t absolutely need to include a subplot into your story but there are many good reasons to include one.

  • It adds depth to your story.
  • If the subplot involves secondary characters, it can make them more rounded and complete.
  • It can help build tension. (You can leave your main story line hanging and switch to the subplot to keep your reader wondering what happens.)
  • Subplots can pile on problems for the main character or perhaps distract them from their course.
  • It can reveal information to your main character or to your reader
  • It can set up characters for multi-book series

Incorporating Subplot

Now your subplot…

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Keep Writing!

The intention of this post really is to get an idea of who is still writing after National Novel Writing Month has finished and to give a little advice. Have people fallen by the wayside? Are they still writing? Are they working on the same story or another one?

Santa might be coming but don’t stop writing! Source: Google Images

It is post-NaNoWriMo and I am still writing the same story and it is still throwing up surprises. I am glad it is as it makes continuing to write it a joy. Let’s face it, once the amazing energy of the month of November has gone and we get ourselves ready for Santa to come, it is very easy to stop and give up. Having a goal to work towards has helped me as I am very goal orientated I have realised in the last few years but for others, it might be something completely different. The love of the story, the characters, the world the story is set in… Any manner of things can keep us writing.

Everyone has heard the advice to write everyday and it is possibly clichéd and overused but hearing it so often can only show that maybe it is good advice to follow. If you stop, it can be difficult to start again. It is a possible reason why people struggle with New Years Resolutions. We do it for a while, stop then pick it up again. The same goes with writing and if you wrote everyday during November, why not continue to write everyday? What about starting a journal or blog of some sort? Dreams, life, books, films; you could chronicle any number of things by sitting down and writing everyday.

If you loved your story from November and didn’t finish, why not keep going with it? If you did, go you! But keep going! Keep writing! If you joined write-in’s during NaNoWriMo, why not arrange more so people can set the guilt monkeys on you? See if your region has regular ones through the year.

In January and February, the NaNoWriMo website will be updated to give editing hints and tips and to get you going. Editing and rewriting is, perhaps, the toughest part of writing any type of story, from the short story to the novelling epics. Get your manuscript ready for then. Get it finished. Put it away to let it breathe. Work on something else then, in January, whilst hung over (or otherwise!), get it out and start reading through.

Just Don’t Stop Writing!

So who’s with me? Who’s writing? Or am I a lone voice shouting to no one in particular?

An international prize for unpublished novelists with a Scottish Flavour

Unpublished (traditionally or self-published)? Got a 50,000 word novel ready to be sent off to agents and publishers? What about entering it into this competition?

BRIDGET WHELAN writer

world mapI’ve just come across a new international prize for unpublished novelists. The Caledonian Novel Award 2015 is open to writers over the age of eighteen of any nationality and from any country, but they must not have had a novel published, and that includes self-published.  The closing date for entries is November 2, 2014 and you have to send the first 20 pages of your novel – double spaced in a size 12 font – plus a 200 word synopsis. The entry fee is £20 and the prize is £1000 and a lot of kudos. A long list will be announced at the end of November. Writers are then given just a week to send in the rest of the manuscript (which has to be at least 50,000 words long) . So, if you’ve only written three chapters don’t bother, but if you have a rough first draft at the bottom…

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The Worst Ways to Begin Your Novel: Advice from Literary Agents

Something to consider when preparing a manuscript to send off to agents.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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No one reads more prospective novel beginnings than literary agents.

They’re the ones on the front lines, sifting through inboxes and slush piles. And they’re the ones who can tell us which Chapter One approaches are overused and cliché, as well as which techniques just plain don’t work.

Below find a smattering of feedback from experienced literary agents on what they hate to see the first pages of a writer’s submission. Avoid these problems and tighten your submission!

False beginnings

I don’t like it when the main character dies at the end of Chapter One. Why did I just spend all this time with this character? I feel cheated.”
- Cricket Freeman, The August Agency

I dislike opening scenes that you think are real, then the protagonist wakes up. It makes me feel cheated.”
- Laurie McLean, Foreword Literary

In science fiction

A sci-fi…

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Camp NaNoWriMo Win!

2014 Winner

Yep! FINALLY finished! 15,500 words.

It ended up with me having to plot out the rest of the novel in bullet points to make sure I had at least some form of plan should I ever go back to it. I think because so many changes happened at the start of the month as well as time pressures for writing due to external things,  it made the writing of this novel all that more difficult.

Whilst doing the bullet points, it allowed me to think things through plus make sure I knew where I wanted to go with characters, their relationships, their places at the end of the story, everything! I also put in some twists including character deaths, the methods of their deaths plus my FMC discovering her real parentage and how it has affected her growing up, training to be a mage and how it could affect her future.

So a lot of things happened when I was bullet pointing the rest of the novel out but at least I am validated as winner. That’s something, right?

Ten Writing Competitions 2014

Need something to do this summer? Have a look at these competitions.

Cat Lumb: The Struggle to be a Writer

It’s time to dust off those pens, power up those PC’s and shake yourself off to enter some of the upcoming writing competitions out there! I’ve been focusing far too much on the WIP of late to have entered any recently, so thought I’d share some options with you. Happy writing – and good luck to those who enter: you have to be in it, to win it!

keep-calm-its-competition-time-7Luke Bitmead Bursary
Deadline: 1st August 2014
Entry: Free, completed manuscripts only
Legend Press host this annual prize and are looking for adult fiction novels, over 50,000 words from first-time, unpublished writers who find it difficult (due to financial or personal circumstances) to focus on their writing career. All submissions should be uploaded via the online system and consist of seperate files containing a one-page synopsis, a personal statement and up to fifty pages of the novel. The winner will receive £2,500…

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