#Writing Update and #CampNaNoWriMo

Once more I have neglected this blog. Not intentionally. Purely because, well, I forgot about this! Oops!

As you might have guessed from the picture above, I am doing Camp once more next month, working on the same WIP that I have worked on for a few months. Since I am aiming to get words written every month, I might as well. Been assigned a Cabin today and there’s a few Twitter tweeps I might connect up with too. If you are doing Camp, feel free to say so. Target is set at 25,000 words but there’s a chance that will drop yet.

As for words written last month, I had a target of 2,500 words and hit 6,509 words so some words ahead. Not all the words were on my current WIP, the magic school story though. Some of the words were, bringing in a story line earlier than anticipated but it did show some character stuff so not all bad. I also wrote words from events many years later after getting stuck, which did get me thinking about some world building stuff I need to work on.

I then went off the story to write other bits. I ended up writing a very quick Destiny fanfic that I posted onto Tumblr and may yet get rewritten or more fan fics spawning from it before beginning to write a second WIP that I have worked on before alongside the current one, the slave story.

I will take the words at least because it’s better than being stuck and writing nothing, right?

So far this month, whilst melting in this heat wave, I have continued writing events that happen later before writing small tit bits relating to these Pride month prompts. Current word count is 2,739 words (239 words beyond my 2,500 target).

Having been forced to take a break, I think I might be able to return to writing what I should be writing in the WIP. That break has also highlighted to me that getting a complete first draft of this done by the end of the year is just not going to happen. The new target is to get somewhere near a complete first draft by the end of the year. All things considered, this seems to be a more plausible target.

How are things going for you? Good, bad, indifferent? Entering Camp next month? Any advice for me on keeping going? Please do comment below.

The Confessions of a Writer

Been tagged to do this by Niina at Northern Chapters so I figured I would give it a go.

d7a3e-writing

Rules of the tag:

  • Please link back to A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly’s post, so that the original rules are always accessible to anyone who is curious and wants to participate!
  • Acknowledge the person who tagged you in your post.
  • Tag your friends and fellow writers – it’s up to you how many!

The Confessions of a Writer Tag was created by Nicolette at A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly. It is a ‘get-to-know’ the writer interview tag, dedicated to spotlighting the creative process, works in progress, and connecting to other writers.


 

When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?

I aspired to be many things as a kid from a vet to a nurse to a pop star, all the usual little girl ambitions. I wasn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the pack at the time and had no interest in anything remotely academic. It took a teacher pointing out I was good at writing that something seemed to start to click in my mind. I did start writing but the switch wasn’t fully turned on though until I discovered the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. After that, everything clicked into place.

What genre do you write?

I gravitate mostly to fantasy and crime with romance sub plots in most of my stories. Family drama, social commentary and thriller also make appearances in a few of my stories, something that didn’t hit me until a tutor pointed it out. I have attempted forays into the science fiction genre but they rarely work out well to be honest.

Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?

I’m working on my magic school story from July Camp NaNoWriMo. Anyone who follows my blog will know it started just from an idea after a failed sci-fi story and has continued since then. The story revolves around a teen girl, coming from a dark magic family involved in criminality, trying to escape and be different. Not sure what I will do with the story later. We’ll see.

What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?

The first story I chose to write was a fan fiction based on Flint The Time Detective, about one of the detectives called Merlock Holmes and his daughter. It never was finished and is absolutely awful, with stuff borrowed from the Cardcaptors/Card Captor Sakura, Lord of the Rings and the Malory Towers series to name but a few. It did have the first version of the school my FMC from the above answer attends so it was not all bad really.

What’s the best part about writing?

Creating new things and exploring the world through the written word. One day, I want to explore the world myself, not just through stories.

What’s the worst part about writing?

Hitting a wall in the creation of the first draft then editing and rewriting. Ugh! Necessary but still hate it.

What’s the name of your favourite character and why? (This can be from a book by another author or from your own work. Book crushes are perfectly acceptable here as well).

Oh! I have no idea! I love characters like Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third from the How To Train Your Dragon books by Cressida Cowell because he’s not your typical hero, and Hermione Granger, because she was smart and her description is very similar to how I was as a kid. Those sorts of characters appeal to me.

How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?

I tend to write in the evening most days because it is the only free time I have available to me in a typical day but I do prefer to write and work on an afternoon. I’ve run my errands, had something to eat and drink, checked the news and e-mail, etc. I can just sit and write (and watch some YouTube and television). It’s a routine that was developed at university and has proven the most productive.

Did you go to college for writing? Or if you haven’t been to college yet, do you plan to?

I did Professional Writing at university (or college as it is in the USA), with the idea that it would set me up not just for writing in general, but was applicable to other jobs too. I’m not working as a writer in any capacity at the moment sadly but I do have ideas and career plans that relate to writing, even just part-time.

What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors, or grammar errors?

Has to be grammar mainly but the others drive me up the wall too, especially if it is in a document or something that you would expect to be correctly spelt, punctuated, grammar checked and formatted correctly.

What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you?

It’s actually a philosophy quote by Confucius that applies to every part of life: “It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.” In other words, keep writing!

What advice would you give to another writer?

I hate the advice write what you know. You could write about everything you know very easily and quickly and end up stuck. I prefer the advice write not what you know, but what you would like to find out about. Write about the things that you want to find out about. The world is a big place so explore it!

What are your favourite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?

My friends are usually my first port of call for help but I also follow a lot of Tumblr prompt and advice blogs, such as Write World and Writing Cafe, as well as seasonal picture blogs that have some stunning picture ripe for prompts, Rayne Hall’s Twitter (her books are brilliant too) and love using Seventh Sanctum.

Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?

Love to read, watch a lot of TV, films and stand up comedy, like Call The Midwife, The Big Bang Theory, How To Train Your Dragon 1 and 2 (I love Toothless!) and comedians like Russell Howard, baking and chatting to friends.

What is the best book you’ve read this year?

This year has to be Lockwood & Co: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud! Second in the series with a cliffhanger to match the first book, The Screaming Staircase. I am in love with this series!

What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?

Has to be Kingsman: The Secret Service. The church scene! The church scene!

What is your favourite book or series of all time?

It changes but I do default to Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society by Adeline Yen Mah. Mah weaves a beautiful story of a girl playing her part in World War 2 in occupied Shanghai with wonderful teachings from Chinese philosophy and culture.

Who is your favourite author?

My all time favourite is JK Rowling as she is also my heroine.

What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?

Mostly just to write, as I haven’t been in a place to do so for a while due to life. More focused goals are to hopefully get my second NaNoWriMo win and to keep writing my Camp story.

Where else can we find you online?

Aside from here, my main ones are Tumblr and Twitter but you can also find me on NaNoWriMo.


 

Finished! I am tagging Kit from Where Landsquids Fear To Tread, Lizzie from mylittlebookblog, Diane from Tales from Baggins Bottom and Charles from Legends of Windemere. Anyone who I haven’t tagged but would like to do this, go for it!

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.

A Question about Rewriting

Muslim Beauxbatons student by Celeste Doodles. Source: Celeste Doodles Tumblr Page.

This isn’t a post so much as me asking for advice. I hope folks don’t mind.

I recently started rewriting an old story, a story that I started in college (that’s 16-18 for folks outside of the UK) and only finished in 2012 as part of my NaNoWriMo for that November. The rewrite was inspired by the picture, left, on Tumblr of a Muslim Beauxbatons student, by Celeste Doodles. (If you click on the image, it takes you to the page of the original picture). It got me thinking about my FMC in the story and her appearance.

Now, I have thought about rewriting the story in question a few times, mostly through changing the FMC as well as some other characters but none of the angles seemed to work. As I said, when I saw the picture, it got me thinking about the FMC and her appearance in the first instance. I considered giving her a headscarf and then thought, why is she wearing it. The reasoning I have come up with since after talking to others for her headscarf is to do with vanity but I am also considering maybe giving some underlying spiritual reasoning. (She’s not going to be Muslim as she lives in another world to our own).

From this, my mind turned to other aspects of the character in general. That led to me reconsidering other parts of the story and the new set up that I have developing from those decisions makes it fairly far removed from the original story that I had written over the years.

I know changes to characters and the story are normal during the rewriting process but I am wondering how big changes to the story a writer should make from one draft to another? Should they be far-reaching, heavily changing lots of aspects of characters/story all at once or should the changes come slowly and be introduced slowly over a succession of drafts?

Curious to how others view this issue as I am a little intimidate with how big the changes are whilst also being comfortable with it. It’s crazy.

Social Media Marketing

Flicking around the web, I’ve come across two articles from Barnsley-based Social Media Agency, Bigfoot Digital explaining how a business (or indeed, a writer) can promote and market their products and blog content.

The first is looking at how you can make sure any Social Media accounts you have or want to open will have positive impact in increasing traffic to your blog and, for writers, gaining new fans. The article also includes tips on the sort of things you should be posting to your Social Media streams. Have at the check list by going to A Checklist for Every New Social Media Account You Open.

The second is looking at 4 ways you can create links to your content from promotion on various Social Media websites to the naturally made links when people find and like your stuff! Check it out by visiting 4 Types of Links: Why You Need Them and How To Get Them on the agency’s website.

I hope these links are helpful to people.

Some Other Social Media Sites

I can only comment about Google+, Tumblr, YouTube and LinkedIn as they are the only ones I use. I might get more views if I used FaceBook and Twitter granted but I have personal reasons for not using those.
Google+ can be somewhat quiet but I find that if I share my blog posts with the right circles and put the occasional hash tag to make sure it appears in searches, I can get quite a few views from it.
I agree that Tumblr tends to be very visual and it is why I will always try to put a picture on a post if possible. I find though that tagging posts with as many appropriate tags as I can really helps posts to be found and to encourage people to read them. Find the right fandom on Tumblr and it will generate a view or two every day.
I have a YouTube (well, I have to have one since I have a Google+ account!) and admittedly, I do not post many videos on there. Mostly because I just don’t have the skills necessary to make and edit them. I did do a couple of vlogs for Camp NaNoWriMo a few years ago but I just was not disciplined enough to continue with it. Maybe I should try to do more…
Lastly but by no means least is LinkedIn. Since I have so few connections on there, maybe it’s no wonder it generates the least amount of views possible. I keep posting my posts there to try and keep it alive in the hopes that it will help me towards getting a job. Could be wishful thinking. I have noticed however that LinkedIn does report that at least one of my connections is looking and reading my posts so there could be something happening there that I am not aware of.

Legends of Windemere

Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram Icons Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram Icons

There are many other social media sites.  I went into detail with the ones I use the most often.  Several I simply connect to my blog and leave it at that.  Here are a few more that you might want to play around with.

Pinterest

I do use Pinterest a lot more than the rest of this list, but I’ve never really done more than the basics.  It’s great for visual artists.  Authors can play around with it, but it’s really about the pictures.  You can ‘Pin’ books directly from their Amazon page, which makes the ‘Pin’ a doorway to the page.  It can help other authors to ‘Pin’ their books and make an album for eBooks.  Take some time to wander Pinterest and ‘Repin’ things that you like and build up a few boards.  The truth is that you can utilize this social media site…

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Blogging: Headquarters of the Indie Author

Excellent advice here for bloggers of all kinds.

Legends of Windemere

Yahoo Image Search Meme Yahoo Image Search Meme

I only know about WordPress, so people from other mediums can share their thoughts in the comments.

This is the heavy hitter of Social Media Marketing because it is your realm.  Facebook always has that sense of someone else being in charge.  Twitter is limited to 140 characters, which forces some ridiculous shorthand.  Tumblr, Pinterest, Linked In, Google +, and all of their ilk are rather limited in getting your word out when they’re compared to blogging.  It is here that you speak of your books, dreams, life, thoughts, and whatever you feel like chatting about.  When people visit or comment, it is them coming to your little corner of the Internet.

Aside from being in ultimate control of content and delivery here, there are two other big boons.  One is that you can connect to other authors an interact through blogging.  It’s easier than Twitter…

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