Wednesday, 7 March 2018

I'm going away for a bit


Well, it has come to my attention that blogging here is a lot more work than I wanted it to be.

But do not fear, I have started a new blog elsewhere. This is because it is a totally different topic and I didn't want to confuse the two.

So if you want to hear my ramblings you can head on over to where I will talk about my adventures in the offline world.

There could be ramblings about writing and such, and I am sure it will progress and grow organically in time. But I have something to say on unplugging - or becoming luddite - and so, although I am sure there will be days that I struggle, I am sure that it will be less of a battle.

So I hope to see you there, but if not, I do understand. Have a lovely day, and I may be back here soon!

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Capturing Ideas

Sorry for being quiet. I haven't done a great deal of writing. And as a result, I feel very deflated. The novel is not moving forward at all. I keep swinging between a complete rewrite and just an edit. If I keep rewriting though, it will never get done. So I am going to go for the edit. I hope by this time next week I will have successfully completed one pass through it.

A new goal for me is to write one short story a week and submit one short story a week. This too is daunting. But I am frustrated by the lack of writing I have out in the world in the hope of being published.

That brings me neatly on to the DIY MFA Book Club prompt: Try a new technique from the DIY MFA book.

Now, the technique I am going to try out is not unique to the DIY MFA. I will be keeping an Idea Bank. 

My primary focus will be filling a notebook with anything and everything that will be useful. I will set myself a target of one thing a day for the next seven days. Another thing for the Idea Bank is physical items, like postcards, or a pebble from a beach. Anything that can trigger an idea. 

But as I am new to this, I will focus on the capturing in word form. This is not to say that I won't do the physical aspects, just that they aren't important to me right this moment. I want to get back in the groove of seeing and capturing potential ideas before I take it to the next level. So in seven days time, I will tell you if I have managed to capture seven things - or more! 

My ROW80 goals will need to be adapted accordingly, and I will update very soon.

How has your week been?

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Crime Goggles

The prompt from the DIY MFA book club this week is very difficult. The question that is asked is: What is your favourite story type?

I have been thinking about this for a while. Not in response to the prompt, but to writing and reading in general. I took the quiz a few weeks back and it said I like the underdog, but I am not sure that is correct. I like seeing the world put to rights.

Some of my favourite books and shows are Criminal Minds, Castle, and anything by Val McDermid.

However, I have come to learn lately, that when it comes to reading and watching anything in the crime genre, I prefer the actual crime to the story of the people who are solving it. It isn't that I have no interest, but that the crime should be the forefront, and the character development should be a side story.

I am reading Insidious Intent at the moment, and whilst it is a good book, I think it falls short of what I enjoy reading. There is a lot more focus on the private lives of Carol and Paula in particular, and some on Stacey. There is not enough detection in the murders.

Whilst I love the characters in the Hill and Jordan series, I was more interested in how they worked together to solve the crime, than how they coped with their personal life.

It seems to be the way, even with Castle, that as the series progressed, more focus went on to private issues within the Caskett relationship.

The only one which seems to stick to the crimes first and foremost is Criminal Minds.

So in response to the question, I think my favourite stories are crime fighting ones. I like the how and why of crime, and I like trying to figure out who it is that committed the crime.

But I am broadening my crime goggles, and intend to consume lots more crime fiction, and seeing if there is something I have missed.

What are your favourite stories?

Friday, 26 January 2018

Supporting Characters - What do they do?

Today, my butt is in the chair reluctantly. But nevertheless, I am here!

Because of ROW80 (and illness) I am behind on my book club posts. Today I am looking into supporting characters. The book club prompt is to say what my favourite supporting character is, and why.

In the prompt, I am given these archetypes - Villain, Love Interest, BFF, Mentor, and Fool  - and I am not sure which one my favourite supporting character falls in to.

When I think of my favourite books - The Dr Tony Hill and Carol Jordan crime novels - and my favourite TV show - Castle - I think it is safe to say that my favourite supporting character takes on the role as mentor.

Or is it BFF? I like my supporting characters to fully understand and love the main character. The supporting character needs to bring enrichment and new ideas to the table, without taking over and being the one doing everything. The supporting character is the 'great woman behind the great man'. In essence, I want my supporting character!

They are the ones that hold it all together. When the main character can't take any more, the supporting character tells them to get their act together. When the main character is frightened, the support says 'I'm here'. The main character wouldn't be as good at what s/he does if it wasn't for the supporting character.

Like any good relationship, they complete each other.

And I need to remember this during the rewrite of my novel. My supporting character needs to support, and be seen to be supportive.

What is your favourite? 

Find out more about DIY MFA here.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Week 4 Update

I think I am finding my writing rhythm, and it is all thanks to the ROW80 challenge!

There is nothing like knowing you have to post an update to the ENTIRE WORLD to make that butt stick to that chair. And whilst I am finding some parts of my goals extremely challenging, I am perservering, determined to get them done.

So here is my update:

2 drafts of Novel and 1 chapter of Structure Your Novel per day.

Check. Well, I am doing well here. I am managing a 10 page edit per day. Monday I managed 30 pages. But I am not doing the rewrites. I found I was getting myself in all sorts of bother, as I wasn't too sure what to do with the bits I marked 'rewrite'. So I am just going through and noting what I want to do, and hopefully I will have completed Structure Your Novel and I will be able to put the puzzle pieces back together.

1 chapter of DIY MFA per week.

Done. Not much in the way of practical steps, other than doing the actual writing. I have read the chapter on failing, and how failure and rejection are essential to a writer. So I am hoping to write more, so I can fail faster and better.

1 lesson on the Mystery Short Story Course

Again, done. This weeks lesson was to start with the idea for a short story that I am goiong to write over the course of the next four weeks. As I am sat in a café and haven't brought along the worksheet where I had jotted ideas down, I needed a prompt. I found an awesome website/blog here, and used the 3 people confessing prompt. I am excited to turn it into a short story.

In other news, I am considering applying for the Writing West Midlands Room 204 Writer Development programme. I know my husband will roll his eyes at this, and I can hear him in the background saying 'Just Write'. I guess his advice is good too though?

Looking forward to visiting other ROW80 blogs, and as always, feel free to leave a comment! 

Monday, 22 January 2018

Resistance is Futile

The Borg got it right when they told the mere humans and other species that resistance is futile.

Today's post is brought to you courtesy of DIY MFA and the prompt:

Share a story about a time when resistance was your compass.

The background to this prompt is that resistance is the desire to run away from something. It is a primal instinct - the fight or flight - but now we don't really need it that often.

So when we have resistance towards a writing project, it is fear that is holding us back. Fear because that project is high stakes for whatever reason. So we avoid it. Better to avoid something you are frightened of right?


Resistance is futile. It really is! Now, I don't have any amazing story to share. I have always succumbed to my feelings of resistance. But one thing I can tell you is that whatever you are resisting, never goes away. The novel I am working on at the moment? That is the resistance project.

And maybe that is why I am finding it so hard now? The resistance is there. I don't know which way to turn. To write a new draft? To complete revisions first?

If resistance is the compass, then I need to follow that path.

On a side note - whilst I am struggling against resistance again, I am not about to give up. This is what I have always done. When it got to tough, I stopped. But this time, I am reaching out. If I get stuck, I know it's okay to seek help. It is not supposed to be easy. If it was, everyone would do it. It is time to show that I an not the chaff.

Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below. As always, I love hearing from you!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

A Round Of Words update

This is my first ROW80 check in on a Sunday. I don't normally blog on a Sunday. In the past, I would write the post and schedule it if I wanted it posted on the weekend. But that won't be possible if my check-ins are going to be accurate. So here goes.

2 drafts of Don't Forgive Twice completed. - I will edit ten pages a day (including the rewrite) and do 1 chapter of Structure Your Novel workbook per day.

I am pushing through the editing of the pages. But as I work through the workbook alongside, I am finding there are major changes that need to be made. I am considering a possible complete rewrite, but wonder if that would just be a waste of time. 

I will also finish the Writer's Village University course on writing Mystery Short Stories (approx. 1 assignment a week)

I have done the first assignment. There are 6 in total, so 5 left.

I will continue to work my way through DIY MFA at one chapter per week.

I am keeping up with this, alongside the DIY MFA book club. Both are helping me be more focussed and aware of what works for me.

The novel is a tough one, with major decisions to be made. I know the murder victim, but haven't quite pinned down why he was killed. I am currently listening to a podcast which is giving me insight into the world I am trying to develop. I have another witness/suspect in the pool now, but I must say, writing the novel is proving a challenge.

But with the support of my husband, and of course, you dear readers, I hope it is not just a pipe dream that will never be fulfilled.

Please let me know how things are going for you in the comments!