NaNoWriMo Word Count Update, Days 10 &11

So my word count is a dismal 15,869 words. No, I haven’t given up. I have just been struggling to settle into writing is all.

Writing tends to be ritualistic I find and for me, I have to potter around, do this, do that, flick through news websites, check my e-mail, etc. then I can settle to write. I have had plans change unexpectedly then just suddenly felt a bit out of it and a tad useless because I am unable to apply for jobs due to various reasons (including my knee). This has all prevented me from writing even though I do want to write. The side effect of this has been that my word count has suffered. (There could be an element of plotting mingled in with this also).

Hopefully I will get more done but before I do that, I am going to post this blog post by Ben Aaronovitch. It is funny anyway even if you don’t read his books but if you have read them, it makes it even funnier in my opinion: http://temporarilysignificant.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/they-got-to-pay-there-way-like.html

 

NaNoWriMo Days 5, 6 & 7

Okay, so no word count updates for a few days. The reason? Well, my Open Office has gone on the blink for and has somehow lost its UK English Dictionary! That means it red lines EVERY word in the WHOLE document, despite everything being spelt correctly so I’ve had no choice but to turn the spell check off in it.

As daft as this might sound, I found myself unable to continue writing in Open Office so I have copied everything into Celtx, which has a novel function. Admittedly, the spell check on there isn’t any better really but at least I get settled down and write… a little…

I am hoping however to keep soldiering on until I finish this month and validate (I am still determined to win!) then mess with Open Office as I have been tipped off that I might have to un-install the whole lot then re-install it to see if the spell check returns. Quite frankly, I don’t want to be messing with that during NaNo really.

Current Word Count: 9,834 words

CSI:NY and NaNoWriMo and Ramblings…

Okay, so sorry for not posting in a while. I know I have only been reblogging stuff but I have been busy, yet not busy, if that makes any sense. As indicated by the title, I will be just rambling a bit in this and I apologise wholeheartedly. So if you don’t want to read my rambling, you are more than welcome not to read any further.

In the last few weeks, I have been working hard and preparing for graduation (which was last Friday), including doing my physiotherapy to get my knee into a position that I could go and now I am sort of trying to figure out what to do with myself, since job hunting is proving difficult (I haven’t really seen this “improvement in the jobs market” that the papers and news seem to keep mentioning) and I am still recovering from my knee dislocation. It sort of diminishes what I can really apply for whilst my knee is still a bit unsteady, I can only stand for so long, only move so fast and use stairs in a certain way. Not exactly a good place to be in when many of the local jobs at the moment are shop assistant types of ones where there is a lot of standing around to be done, at the very least. As well as that, I am dog-sitting my mum’s pup through the day when she is at work (including some dog training) and that seems to be taking up a lot of my time despite the dog being content enough to run around and play by herself.

I am also preparing to taking part in NaNoWriMo as some of you folks will know. Well, I say preparing, I should say I am still unsure what exactly is going to happen in my story and how it ends. I am just, unclear, what to do with it, which is not a good thing. I do know what I want to say and what themes and issues I want to raise with it but as for real planning, detailed planning, I have a mage character, her familiar and a possible friend for the character. The friend only announced himself today so I am still trying to figure out who he is exactly. Other than that, it is very unclear and murky if you will. I am also trying to work on the Autumn Writing Challenge and use it to help me plan a bit but that isn’t going too well either. This is not looking good for NaNo is it?

Just to clarify, the reblogs I have posted to try to keep the blog alive are ones I hop are inspiring and helpful to folks and are keeping with what I want to do with this blog! There’s another element to my planning that I probably could be getting on with and could help with the actual story planning: world building. Despite taking place in this world, the story is set on an island populated almost entirely by mages and their familiars. I could easily be working on the society and the politics of the island as they are probably going to be VERY important to my novel and the story, how the schools and educational system are set up and ran since the MC, main character, is going back initially to teach in the island’s schools and I also need to explain a thing or two about her education, how they dress, how the magic works and there are probably a load of other things I also need to consider!

I don’t even know what the island is going to even be called!

I know for definite some of the island’s traditions and it’s society is going to be based, even just loosely on 1900 to 1960’s Britain with many of the trappings of modern life. Possibly why I have been reading the Jennifer Worth book, In The Midst of Life, and re-watching the Call the Midwife series. I also vaguely know that the last episodes of CSI: New York are probably going to influence how the story develops and pans out

Mac Taylor

Gary Sinese as Mac Taylor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night saw the end of an era with CSI: New York finishing its last ever season here in the UK and I am not embarrassed to say it caused me to cry a lot (with the dog giving it some, what the heck!) and that it brings a lump to my throat now just thinking about it. Gary Sinese will always be Det. Mac Taylor in my eyes. Just thinking about how we will never see how Lindsay and Danny’s kids will grow up, how Flack’s relationship goes or even Mac’s wedding. Then there is also Sid’s illness! Oh that had me blubbing as well! Some spoilers ahead. I will try to keep them as minimal as possible but don’t say you haven’t been warned! It was certainly intense and made me think of the London Riots and how they were sparked. There did seem to be some parallels and made me wonder if the scriptwriter had actually based, at least partly, the story on the Riots here in the UK. I know that the riots and the episode last night could actually feed into the story for NaNo and how it ends possibly. Or at least play a part in the climax of the story.

This last season of CSI: New York has been intense, funny, enjoyable and very, very emotional all in just a few episodes. These emotions were heightened further by the fact that we all knew that these episodes would be the very last!

I still hold out hope though that we will see all three CSI teams (with living characters) return to our screens in one big, explosive episode or even movie. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see Mac, Horatio and Grissom all together interacting? That would be amazing in my opinion!

To ease some of my boredom and maybe even help with planning, I am hoping to try out a new recipe this week. Now, you guys might not know that I really enjoy baking and the washing up afterwards bizarrely.  I actually find it oddly peaceful and because I don’t actually have to think too much about what I am dong, it gives me time to think about life and has sometimes helped me get through writer’s block. So who knows? It might help with NaNo. Anyway, I am hoping to make a chocolate mousse and theme it around Halloween. (I really enjoy Halloween and not just for the cheap chocolate on November 1st!) It’s a recipe I have seen in a magazine for one of the big supermarkets and I am hoping to give it a try soon. At the very least, it will help me figure out how I can do my normal baking with a pup around my feet. Who knows? It might give me the confidence to try a couple of other new recipes! But yeah, this is what is going on in my life at the moment. Just sort of figuring out what to do with myself.

Book Review: The Road to Somewhere A Creative Writing Companion by Robert Graham, Helen Newall, Heather Leach and John Singleton

Okay, a return to normal service here.

The Road to Somewhere is not a how to book but rather it covers all the topics from starting to write, the materials you will need for the journey (journals, reading as a writer, etc.), the process of writing itself (including some discussion on poetry and scriptwriting), getting published and further. This is an academic book, aimed at students and teacher of creative writing courses but it is also a good book for individuals too.

This book was on my reading list back in  the first year of my university course but it has become invaluable for me as a companion when writing and when I need advice and I am stuck on things, I have turned to this book for help and advice. It is easy to read and provides practical as well as academic information. This is mainly for students as it was written and edited by current and former lecturers at Manchester Metropolitan University and Edge Hill University. I have looked at other writing courses around the country and seen this book appear time and again on reading lists.

This book also includes Agony Aunt sections covering being scared about failing, not having any ideas, finishing and the next steps, among others. I have used these sections a lot when needing quick help and then consulting the chapters and their essays when I have a bit more time.

I have had various books on my reading lists at university but this is definitely one of my favourites and is the reason I bought it. It might be an academic book but I found out that I could get a second-hand copy in good condition on Amazon Marketplace for cheap. If you are serious about writing and thinking about studying it as an academic subject, I would recommend buying this book.

Book Review: Writing the Paranormal Novel by Steven Harper

So as well as reading the Auto-Correct book, I have read this book.

Writing the Paranormal Novel is about exactly that, writing a paranormal novel. This book does focus mostly on Urban Fantasy and covers everything includes what makes a novel a paranormal or fantasy novels, working out what magical elements are going to be in the work, if the paranormal elements are secret in the world or in the public domain and if the magic is persecuted or dominates lives, magical culture, research, whether to have clichés  keeping the magic/paranormal real, plotting, fight scenes, dialogue and a whole section on getting published.

This book was the first one I ever bought on Kindle and so far, it is proving to be some of the best money I have spent. Written in a way that is easy to understand without condescending, it provides excellent information on world and character building and gets a writer (often addressed as you and yours in the book) to think about the things that they may not have considered before, such as about the economy of the magical world and fight scenes, especially if you have characters like werewolves. It also covers the use of clichés and how to craft and handle those when creating the magical creatures in the novel. Whilst some of the information is available in other how to write books, this is completely focused on the paranormal novel and crafting the elements in that book. It also looks at the idea of story arcs, in books and across series as well as general plotting.

This book definitely covers everything possible and is all-encompassing, which I have not found with any other how to book I have read or looked at. I am trying to think of anything negative with this book and finding nothing to say. I know, I know. It sounds bad to say, I know, but it is the honest truth.

I could not recommend this book highly enough as a must have and must read for anyone wanting to write paranormal stories (short stories or novels). It is certainly a reason I keep my Kindle nearby when writing so I can dip in sometimes to find what I need when I need help.