Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Tonight has a lot of significance for many different people. For most of us it’s Halloween, a night to dress up, eat candy and scare ourselves silly. For others it’s the Pagan New Year, when the veils between the worlds are thin (and yes, that is now a plot bunny in my head). Others still have it as the Day of the Dead, a night to remember and commemorate those we have lost. For me though it’s NaNoWriMo’s Eve. Tonight, right now, people all over the world are setting out to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I’m not going to talk about NaNo tonight though. I’m looking back at the last month, at how much I’ve accomplished and how much I failed to do. I was looking at my monthly plan for October today. I got the most important bits of what I wanted to do, done. I managed to get my NaNo outline all done, a lot more of The Darkling Watch edited and a few more entries of The Feral Diaries written.
What I didn’t get done was as much on o.S.a.M as I had hoped. In fact I barely got anything done. That was the major disappointment of October.

So I decided something. Obviously, with NaNo and work, I’m having to cut down on what I’ve set myself as goals for RoW80 and my own November goals. I’m focusing entirely on NaNo with a little bit of a focus on the Darkling Watch read-through as well as more blog posts about NaNo, RoW80 and another post each week about something else. Maybe when I’ve got time I’ll do a bit of work on Feral Diaries and o.S.a.M.

My post is short tonight, I’m focusing on finishing the plans for NaNo and getting enough sleep for work and doing some writing. I’m a little disappointed that I won’t be able to take part in the midnight kick-off but I’m still looking forward to it. Hopefully once my money problems are sorted out I’ll be able to put together a bunch of incentives for myself as well.

Keep Writing!

Monday, 29 October 2012

A Very Late RoW80 Check-In

I’m a little late posting this, I know, I know. I’m very bad. Real life caught up with me in the form of vodka. A lot of vodka. But it’s alright. I needed it. I needed to unwind and relax and spend a day doing nothing involving my novels or my blog or my comic. Every day, no matter how minor it is, I end up doing something involving them. Except for Sunday. Instead I spent it lying in a nest of quilts on my living room floor watching Grey’s Anatomy. Yeah, that was my hangover day and it freaking rocked!

Now though it’s over. I had my first day at work (an unpaid work placement) and I’m tired. I’m so very tired. But I want to make this post. I’m driven to make this post. I suppose it’s truly become a habit for me. All day at work I was thinking about what to say, what to talk about. I’m going to start with my progress on RoW80.

Work on o.S.a.M once a week  -  I actually did some of this last week. I wrote a few detailed scene outlines of the first chapter. I may not have gotten loads done but I got enough done to be happy with it.

Edit The Darkling Watch – I did quite well with this one as well. I managed to separate out 3 more chapters and made notes on what I need to expand with them. I’m happy with it. While I may be taking a break from editing during NaNo I’m not going to stop thinking about it, working out how I’m going to attack it again once my placement is up and figuring out where my plot needs to go to get two books out of it.

Write The Feral Diaries – I was a bit disappointed with this last week. I got nothing done. And when I say nothing I mean diddly squat. I wrote one entry and that was it. Not good. I won’t lie, it bothers me a little but that’s just because I feel like I let myself down and disappointed myself. I am putting this to one side as well while I take part in NaNo.

Post twice a week – I did good with this one. I know I did. I managed to blog about NaNo and about my crazy organisation thing. I’m planning to do the same this week, even with NaNo starting properly and the fact I’m going to be working full time. I can’t guarantee that my posts will always be readable or that they’ll make normal person sense but I will try. I have to. I already know what I’m going to be posting about. I hate to admit it but it will be mostly about NaNo.

Plan/Write NaNo – My planning went really well last week. I got my entire plot twisted out, the first few chapters detailed in scenes and I’m tracking which dares I use where. I have lists again. I really like lists. I’ve even decided how I’m going to manage to write and work at the same time, a new experience for me. That will come on Wednesday, Halloween. I won’t be taking part in the midnight kick off like so many of my fellow NaNoers will be, simply because I’m useless without 8 hours sleep.

For now though I’m going to work on my outline a little more, get changed into my PJs and snuggle into my comfy bed for a good nights sleep. Look out for my post all about NaNoWriMo on Wednesday.

Keep Writing!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

My Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

There’s 6 days to go until NaNoWriMo kicks off. I think that by this time last year I’d made 2 or 3 posts about it already. Part of this was just the sheer excitement of having found such a new challenging thing. Another part was that I never really thought about what I’d post each week. This year not so much, I’ve been focused on outlining and editing and writing The Feral Diaries and RoW80. As a result I’ve barely thought about blogging about NaNo.

I thought I’d talk about it at last. I learnt this week that I’m being put on Work Placement with the JobCentre. This means that for the first time I’ll be really learning whether I can handle writing and working full time. The last time I worked I’d just finished writing The Darkling Watch and was taking a break after the intensity of NaNoWriMo. It will be a new experience for me, writing with NaNo at the same time as working 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. I’m considering it an experiment at living in the real world.

My NaNo this year is again drawing on Norse mythology but it’s focused more on the Young Adult market. I’m considering putting it up on Amazon once it’s finished and edited to the point I’m happy with it but if I don’t it won’t be the end of the world. I have ended up spending too much time on the NaNo forums, particularly in the dares thread. As a result my outline is now full of strange events and quirky characters. There is a chance I’ll have to take them out once I’m editing but there’s also a chance those dares will make it funnier and more interesting than I could ever hope.

My outlining has been very in-depth. It’s overly complicated but it works for me. First I outlined the novel as a whole. Then I went through the outline, breaking it up chapter by chapter. Then I outlined each chapter in more depth before separating out each scene. I’ve got a whole 31 chapters and an epilogue done like this so far. Now I’m going through with each scene and going into detail with each of them. I’ve also tried to get a better grip on my characters by interviewing them as well as doing character sheets. It seems to be working actually.

With so much detail going into my planning process and the fact I’ve only got 6 days left means I’m going to have to work my backside off to get this all done before November 1st rolls around. Here’s hoping I manage it. Last year when I went into NaNo I only had half of my novel detailed properly. The rest was only vaguely outlined and detailed and The Darkling Watch came out crazy towards the end.

I'll let you know how it's going over the month, making sure to have at least one post a week detailing my progress throughout the month. This will be on top of my RoW80 posts and another independent post. Hopefully I can juggle all this stuff. If you don't hear from me assume I've gone a little bonkers and had to be locked away. Or at the least that my parents have taken my laptop away from me.

Keep writing.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Crazy List Lady

Today I want to talk about organisation and some of the methods I use. These personally work for me, but they may not work for everyone. If it does, great! Let me know. If it doesn’t then fair enough, I hope you find one that does soon. Essentially what I’m trying to say is that there’s no right or wrong way to organise for everyone, it’s about finding what organisation methods fit you. Anyway, on with the post;

With so many projects going on in my head and in my writing I’ve found that being organised is key. I tried many different things; list making, using files on my computer, daily to do lists and self timetabling. Nothing really work though. Then I saw an amazing video made by a woman who’s also a writer and artist, Amy Brucker. Now her organisation tips are more directed to small business owners and the self-employed but I’ve found that with a bit of tweaking they are also a good base for writers.

I watched it, I made notes and I decided to give it a go. At first I was trying to do too much in one day, not really thinking about how long it took me to do each activity. Then I began to look and notice the patterns that were emerging in what I was and wasn’t doing. I realised that I was happily getting more done for the stuff that I wanted to do but the things I didn’t want to do I wasn’t really doing or I’d half-arse it. So I cut down on how much I tasked myself with each day and forced myself to do the things I really didn’t want to do or that I was feeling less enthusiastic about first. I also kept things new and interesting by making sure that no two days had exactly the same activities. The idea of doing exactly the same things two days in a row really seemed to get me unmotivated. So far it seems to be working. Granted my lists aren’t as colourful or highly decorated as hers, I prefer to focus more on the activities I’m setting myself than drawing pictures but it’s bright enough and eye catching enough that I notice it.

I also do a monthly to-do-list. This is basically an A4 sheet of plain paper with the month at the top. I’ll then write down each project I’m working on that month and leave plenty of space around it to set myself tasks. For instance in October I’m focusing on The Darkling Watch, The Feral Diaries, o.S.a.M and NaNo. Beneath each little title I’ll write three or four overarching tasks such as plan Book 2 of The Feral Diaries, get a complete NaNo idea written down. I’ll draw a little check box next to it and then I let myself loose with my Copic markers and decorate it. As the month’s gone on I’ve written little post-it notes to myself about other things that I didn’t even think about, mostly related to research and little ideas I’ve had.

Both of these pages are on separate doors of my wardrobe which is right beside me as I sit writing. That means I can look to the right and see what I’ve accomplished each day and what I’ve managed to do for each month. Once the month or week is over I switch it round, usually on Sunday night which is a slow day for me. I’ll put the old sheet in the back of my planning folder and put the new one up.
Then I found Amy Brucker had made another organisation video, focusing on something she’d mentioned earlier, the ideas journal.

I started making notes on the parts of her ideas journal that interested me. At first I was just writing on a single sheet of paper in a small folder where I kept my lined paper and notes on research I was doing. Then, as more and more ideas started coming to me, as I started writing a list of potential blog post ideas and The Feral Diaries pages started raking up I realised I needed to expand. So I bought a lever-arch folder and transferred it all to there. I used the larger cardboard dividers to separate out different sections; Darklings, The Feral Diaries, o.S.a.M, the blog, my research, NaNoWriMo, ToDo lists.

Then I divided each section down into what I needed from it. For Feral Diaries it’s outlines, Book 1 and Book 2. For the blog section its ideas, outlined ideas and published ideas. I could go on and on but I figure you’ve got the idea by now; I split each larger section into small bits focusing on different parts of the project. Even the weekly to-do list sheets get their own section at the very back (but that isn't split). At the start of each large section I’ve created individual to-do lists for those areas, just so that I can look at those when I’m working on the to-do lists each week and so that I can see how far I’ve come.

I like working on paper. It gives me freedom. I can go nestle in the living room with a trashy film on and slowly write out random bits and pieces for my writing. I can jot down a random idea about ninja parrots or something if I’m in the middle of town. I usually get struck by random ideas when I’ve not got my laptop on or I’m on the middle of the bus so can’t really dictate a note to myself without looking crazy. Basically the plot bunnies attack when I least expect it.
But I’m not unprepared. I make sure that I have a little notebook with me at all times. It’s a little bruised, a little battered but it’s mine. When I get an idea I write it on top of a fresh page and continue to develop it onto the other side of that page if it stays with me. If it’s got to that point I know it might be a keeper. Sometimes I don’t or can’t go any further with it but if it’s a random scene or character I’ll pop in a post-it just in case I can use it for some other story.
When an idea’s gotten to the point where it’s stuck in my head and begging to be planned I’ll copy it into the pages of another book I have, a notebook that was a birthday present this year from a fellow writer. It’s actually one of the notebooks that NaNoWriMo sells and has “There’s a book in you that only you can write” on the front. I think this is quite fitting really as this is where I put my bigger ideas as they develop. Yes I’ve split it into separate sections as well. I leave enough room for 3 double sides of writing per idea, 6 sides of paper in total. If an idea covers those 6 pages and especially if I’ve started to add in little post-its with notes on them I know it’s time to start planning it properly.

This all might seem really complicated to you but for me it works. If I need to take a break from something  that I’m currently working on or I’ve got a block on that project I can put it aside and do a little planning for something else. I love lists so they feature heavily in how I organise myself. I like to work on paper more than on the computer for the initial planning stages of a story. I like to keep all my ideas in one easy to reach place. 

If you want to give my methods a try and they work for you I’d love to hear it. If you try them and they don’t I’d still like to hear about it and why they didn’t work for you. If you have your own method that really works then please, share it. I like hearing about this sort of stuff, and who knows, it really might help other people too. There’s no right or wrong method for everyone, it’s an individual thing.

Keep Writing.

Also a big thank you to Christina who left a comment on Sunday's blog post and explained to me how to add those web-badges I was on about. As you can see her instructions worked and I'm one step closer to getting the blog looking the way I want it to. So thank you Christina, big hugs to you.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

RoW80 Check In

So it’s another week down and yet more failures on my part. Except... I’m not classing them as failures. I may not have done as much editing or writing as I planned to but I’ve been doing things related, however distantly, to my goals.

I didn’t write any new entries for The Feral Diaries but I did do the long promised blog post about it yesterday. And I received some positive feedback about it. I also did some planning about the storylines and figured out a rough idea of what happens when. So although I didn’t meet the specific goal of writing and editing I made progress, even if it was in a different direction than I planned.

The same is true of Darkling Watch. I’ve done very little editing of it. Barely any of my read-through in fact but the stuff I did do on Monday led to three whole chapters being separated. That’s quite a lot for only three hours work. And I had Jeremy Kyle on in the background, which surprisingly helped with the arguements. Not to mention that I started roughly planning the novel about one of my favourite characters in the book. I plan on plotting that one out properly next year in fact and may share something about it at a later date.

I didn’t do anything related to o.S.a.M this week but I’m not actually bothered by that fact. It’s a series of short story web-comics connected by one long theme. I’m still trying to think of a new name for it as Of Swords And Magic does, as a friend told me, sound like a dissertation title for fantasy literature. I’m thinking something to do with curses. It still needs work. Anywho, the reason I’m not too bothered is that with the new storylines roughly plotted out for the most part I’ve got to let them settle. I need them to come together in my head, not just on the paper. For a good three or four months the story was one direction, not a direction I was really happy with, but it was a certain way. Now that I’ve started again from scratch with a bunch of different genres I’m happier with it. I’ve still got to get used to it in my head.

As for NaNoWriMo... well. It’s going splendidly. I’ve got a rough idea of my characters, the events and a couple of the subplots. The subplots aren’t as clear as the primary plotline but they’re getting there. I’ve also stepped a bit away from the Young Adult genre and into the realms of the completely ridiculous. I spent too much time in the Dares thread of the NaNoWriMo forums and so I’ve got a bunch of small events that I’m planning to put in to the story somewhere. The outlines right now are so rough that I can. For instance I’ve got a very basic scene of someone telling my MCs what’s happening. I don’t know how, I don’t know what’s said or what the characters are all doing. Thanks to the dares though I can expand on it a little, make it funnier. Maybe it won’t work and I’ll have to take those weird sections out but who cares! I’ll have fun doing it. Last year I took NaNoWriMo very seriously, not including any dares or experiencing much of the fun of NaNo that people talk about. Now though, with one whole novel under my belt and another one well on its way to reaching the editing stage I feel happy enough in my abilities to put weird events in and make them work. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a hit on my hands.

And finally, the last goal of blogging more than once a week about topics other than RoW...I nailed it. Not only did I write the promised posts about The Darkling Watch and The Feral Diaries but I also did one more than intended, specifically the Liebster Award entry. I’m still trying to figure out how to get that badge on the site incidentally. I want to put it in one of my sidebars, along with a NaNoWriMo badge/link and a RoW80 badge/link but I don’t have a clue. If you know how let me know.

So it’s been a successful week for me. Not as productive on the writing front as I’d hoped and I didn’t exactly reach my specific goals but I did work around each other them and that makes me happy. Now though I return to my NaNo planning and trawling the NaNo Dare thread for more insanity to put in my novels.

Keep writing!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

It's all about the ferals

I know I promised the low-down on The Feral Diaries yesterday but I got completely enfolded in planning for NaNo. I literally spent the entire day working on my outline and character notes. Now though I’ve decided to write the promised post all about the Feral Diaries.

As the name suggests The Feral Diaries is a series of diary entries about the creatures known by my characters as Ferals. It’s kind of like a zombie novel and does in fact draw inspiration from Living with the Dead, a blog diary that I’ve mentioned before here. I was originally going to write it in novel form, with each chapter being a weekly entry and other bits and pieces such as emails and lab reports inserted at seemingly random points. After thinking about it though I’m planning to put The Feral Diaries online, at least three posts a week, done in real time. It’s going to take some work, particularly in explaining how the internet is still working in a country that’s lost much of its infrastructure (I’m thinking dongles but if anyone’s got a better idea let me know in the comments).

You’re probably wondering what the Ferals are exactly. I’ll tell you. They’re people, or at least they used to be, mutated by a contaminated vaccine that’s offered all over the country. They’re vicious, bloody thirsty and look a bit like a werewolf mid-change. All this is told from the point of view of an alternate me in a little village that fights to survive. There’s rebellions, famine and attacks from deeply unpleasant people as well that they have to deal with.

Planning the thing is a bit of a task. In my original outline I used prompts from a LiveJournal group called RunAwayTales. I still am as I work on my first draft in fact. I’m getting all the important points covered and reading back every 10 entries or so, figuring out how to separate all the stuff up. I’m also having to juggle the realistic side of how long it would take to build a wall, collect supplies and the like. I’ve had a lot of help with this aspect actually and it’s quite good. My assistant as I shall call her (she’s shy and doesn’t want to be named) seems to have a crazy amount of experience in the things I’m working on and she’s got an incredible mind for figuring this sort of stuff out.

The outlines have been done in 6 month groupings and I’m still on the first group. I’m almost at the end though and it’s coming along well. Now I just need to make the adjustments, copy it all up and expand on some of the entries. I’m planning to leave some leeway so that I can allow for real-time events of the natural kind (floods etc) that might be big news outside of the UK. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to start posting but I hope to have at least a month’s worth of entries all ready to go, maybe more.
I’ll let you know when I do get around to putting it online. It’ll be on a different blog site though. I’m also still iffy about the name The Feral Diaries.

In the meantime I’m gearing up for NaNo and working on my RoW80 goals so expect a post about RoW80 tomorrow and one about NaNo on Tuesday.

Keep writing.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Liebster Award

I was originally going to do an entry about The Feral Diaries today and tell you all about those. But I got some interesting news today and thought I better follow through on sharing it. The amazing J. E. Blackworth from J.E. Blackworth’s Shifting Thoughts, the inspiration behind my A to Z post last week, informed me on my last entry that she’d nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award.
Before I even think about responding to J.E’s questions I’ll give a bit of information about the Awards as I really wanted to know what it’s about. And you know, I’m weird like that. It’s essentially a chain letter but one of the fun ones. There’s no horrible threats of supernatural repercussions if you don’t follow through and it’s a great way to get some new readers. What it boils down to is that you get tagged by someone who admires or enjoys your blog who asks you 11 questions. You then make a post and answer those questions. At the end of your post you ask 11 new questions of 11 of your favourite bloggers who have less than 200 followers and tell them. It’s almost impossible to find out where the Liebster Blog Award began, some of the older entries that came up in my google search actually mention it’s 4 to 5 bloggers with less than 3000 followers that you ask and that you have to post 11 things about yourself. I’m not sure how it’s gotten so much smaller but I think it may have something to do with the expansion of the blogger-sphere and the fact it’s now quite easy for people to get 3000 followers. I wouldn’t know, I’m still stuck on 5 :P
Here’s what I found from this blog when I looked up the Leibster Award on Google.
The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
What is a Liebster? The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.Here are the rules for receiving this award: 1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.  2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve nominated to answer. 3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post. 4. Go to their page and tell them. 5. No tag backs!

So I’ll start with the 11 things about myself;
  1. I enjoy organising my work
  2. I’ve got a thing about making lists, they’re the funnest thing I know how to do
  3. I’ve never had a serious relationship.
  4. I can climb up a tree branch with just my thighs supporting me.
  5. I get on better with boys than girls
  6. I have a thing for the delectable and dashing Henry Cavill.
  7. I’m appallingly bad at HTML so I’m struggling to figure out how to put those buttony things on the sidebars of my blog.
  8. I used to want to be a horse when I grew up.
  9. I accidentally got my dad into zombie fiction when I threw World War Z at his head.
  10. I have very poor willpower, hence why I’m still smoking despite wanting to quit.
  11. I secretly worry I’m going to end up alone except for my 20 cats (I’ve only got one at the minute)

There’s a bit about me and now I’ll answer the questions from the delightful J. E.

1. What actor would you hire to play you in your TV movie biography, and why?
I would hire... Kate Beckinsale to play me. Not because I’m gorgeous (I’m only mildly pretty on a good day when I try) or slim as a rake. It’s because she’s got an incredible range of emotions and this beautiful elegance and grace that I wish I could have at least half of.

2. If you could take home any animal from the zoo, which would it be, and what would you do with it?
I would take home a snow leopard and I’d cuddle it. Or set it on people if they started bothering the house again. I love cats and big cats. They’re pretty.

3. What book setting would you like to visit, if you could?
I’d love to visit Discworld. Terry Pratchett makes his writing so vivid and the world so interesting and amazing that I’d just love to see it in reality.

4. What is your favorite thing to do outdoors? Why?
I like to walk outdoors, especially in autumn. I just love the colours in the trees and fields and I like to feel all the space around me and listen to the birds. I love to walk outdoors because I can go as fast or as slow as I like and there’s this incredible sense of freedom when I’m walking. I can get lost in my own thoughts and work out problems with my writing or my life.

5. Who was the best teacher you ever had, and why? Can be related to formal education, or not.
The best teacher I’ve ever had is my dad. He taught me how to cook and to love cooking. He taught me how to do DIY, or at least tried to as I’m not very good with a power drill. He’s just taught me how to care for myself and look after my own life. He’s taught me to be independent but the most wonderful thing he’s taught me is that even though I can look after myself and make something of my life he’s always there and will be there for me whenever I call him.

6. What makes your favourite song so special? How do you personally relate to it?
I don’t actually have a favourite song. It really depends on my mood and the place that my head is at when I’m listening to music. There are several that I like to listen to though. 
One in particular that I’m really into right now is Rita Ora’s R.I.P. featuring Tinie Tempah. It just resonates with me because I am so different to how I used to be at school. I have self-confidence, I don’t rely on other people to make me feel important, I am the person I am and I embrace my weirdness. The girl I used to be at school is gone and I’m me.

7. If you could learn any new language, which one would you choose and why?
I really don’t know. There are several I’d love to learn; Latin, French, German, Mandarin, Japanese. I just want to try to speak more than just English, learn more than just the English language structure. I think the first one I’d most like to learn would be Latin. It’s the root of so many different languages in our modern world and sounds a beautiful and fascinating language.

8. Using all of your 5 senses, describe your favorite food.
My favourite food is a Mr Kipling’s Angel Cake. I could eat a whole box of 6 of those delicious things.
Sound- rustling scratching as the plastic wrapping is taken off, the crunch sound as the cake is pulled from the plastic tray. A moist, barely there squishing sound and sucking as the icing gets stuck to my fingers.
Sight - Two slices of light fluffy sponge, one pale yellow and the other the pastel pink of a sunset, with a shining layer of white glaze and swirling pattern of bright pink icing. Just the sight makes my mouth water.
Smell – almost too sweet, slight hints of vanilla and something indescribable that makes me know that it’s going to be delicious.
Touch – light and springy, barely any weight in my hand. My finger is moist on the bottom where it presses against the sponge, my other finger slides in the icing on the top, covered in the sticky sweetness. It’s so easy to get my teeth through.
Taste – the rush of vanilla and flour and sugar. The intense sweetness of the icing that momentarily overwhelms the taste of the cake. It’s just too delicious to describe.

9. If you found a suitcase full of money in the middle of the street, what would you do?
I’m not sure. I’d like to imagine that I’d report it to the police and hand it in but I’m more sure that I’d probably not mention it and keep the money for myself. It’s selfish and I’d love to be sure that I’d take the high road and be a good Samaritan but I know there would be the chance that I wouldn’t. A very good chance.

10. What are you most grateful for?
I’m most grateful for my family and home. I don’t have a job, I don’t own my own home. My parents are kind enough to let me live with them still, to provide me with heat and food and running water. They don’t have to do this, I’m 22, I have a degree, I should be living my life with my friends and a job according to society. They’ve chosen to let me stay with them, I think my mum loves the fact that I’m home still. They’ve made no mention of me moving out apart from the obvious bi-weekly ‘How’s the job hunt going?’. They just want me to be happy and make something of myself and they’ll help me until I can support myself. For this I’m grateful.

11. Tell about an article or book you read recently.
I recently finished reading Sun God seeks...Surrogate? by the amazing Mimi Jean Pamfiloff. Her writing is incredible. She draws on all kinds of ancient mythologys, supernatural mythology and the modern world. She deals and writes about the kinds of things that are similar to my Darkling series but she focuses on a bigger picture while weaving together all of these stories. She has an insane seer goddess that just keeps making pop culture references and is just plain hilarious to read. She manages to balance action, romance, drama and tension while still being able to find the way to make all the sex she writes seem natural and fun without seeming like it’s been forced in there to make the wordcount.

Right, time for my tagging of other bloggers. I don’t actually know many bloggers who have less than 200 followers but there’s a few. I don’t think I’ll be able to tag 11 though. If they’ve got over 200 followers my bad :s 
So, my tags are;
  • Erin over on La Bella Ironia – an amazing artist and a funner blogger.
  • Polly over on Polway – the woman is awesome and one of my best friends. We may not like all the same things but she’s been there at some of my worst moments.
  • Emmy on Bittersweet Enmi – she seems such a strong woman, despite all that she’s been struggling with lately. I admire the strength she has and her bravery in talking about her problems and her thoughts.

Yeah, that’s right, I’ve only got 3 blogs I read that may or may not have less than 200 followers.
But... here’s the fun part, here are my questions;

1. What made you first get into blogging?
2. What’s the most embarrassing thing that you’ve ever had happen to you?
3. Who’s the most important person in your life?
4. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? And why?
5. What would you say is your number one flaw?
6. What’s your favourite genre of book to read? Why?
7. Tell us about the most interesting book you’ve read recently?
8. What would your dream job be and why?
9. What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
10. What language do you most wish you could speak? Why?
11. Describe your dream holiday and tell us why you want it.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Finally I give the low-down on The Darkling Watch

At last it’s the long awaited, long promised post about The Darkling Watch. The entry that I’ve been promising for a while, many, many weeks in fact. I’m struggling to think about where to start. I suppose at the beginning is the best place to start.

The Darkling Watch is part of a series. The series itself focuses on the beings known as the Darklings. The Darklings is the collective name for the supernatural beings that live within our worlds, the vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters and witches, staying hidden from human eyes. The Watch is the police force of this world, comprised of different Darklings and their human helpers who call themselves the Admin. The Darkling Watch is actually probably the end book(s) given that I’ve now reworked the ending (more on that later) and it’s not completely happy. I’ve got other novels vaguely planned that feature characters from this part of the series but they come before the novel starts. So basically I’m working from the back to the beginning. I think. The Darkling Watch is about a girl who is killed, basically at the very beginning, but who is brought back to life and thrown into the world of the Darklings. It’s slowly revealed that what happens to Nadia (our Main Character) wasn’t an accident but that a deranged god has been pulling her strings for many years. Who? Loki, the prankster god of Norse mythology, with a twist. Why? To bring about Ragnarok and end the world.

This novel was a NaNo novel, written for NaNoWriMo, and I only decided to take part about halfway through October. The planning was rushed, the characters were only vaguely described and I had no idea about chapters or anything like that. I had written before but I’d never managed to finish an entire novel. I managed to plan about halfway through, making detailed notes on scenes etc. After that things got a little foggy and I only had vague outlines for each scene. So after I hit the end of my detailed notes I started pantsing. That led to some interesting developments to say the least. Something about writing late at night leads to weird things happening in my mind. Granted, some of these developments were pretty awesome and I couldn’t have thought of them while I was just sat there thinking and planning. It has led to things being quite complicated and the completed novel now needs a lot of work.
The biggest piece of work I’m having to do, before I even think about editing phrasing of sentences and fixing all the little details, is reading through the novel and separating it up into chapters. As I’ve gone through I’ve spotted missing scenes and the fact is that these have made the story even bigger. So it’s ended up with me having to split the manuscript into two, possibly three separate books. I don’t actually have a problem with this, it gives me a chance to explore my characters and their emotions more, building on things that are only briefly touched up but need more attention to them. To put it shortly, the editing I’m doing is making it even bigger. And I like it. Much of my writing right now, as it stands is mostly telling, not showing as writers are encouraged to do. Not worrying about making the novel bigger means I get to hone these skills and get my characters showing how they feel, focusing on emotions and thoughts rather than just ‘he felt sad’, ‘she wanted to kiss his mouth’ and so on. Also I need to add in a timeline in my notes. Right now everything in the story happens very quickly. Nadia falls in love with a shifter too quickly for it to be authentic. Everything gets very rushed along and I need to stretch the time that the novel covers. Making it even longer.

Now... another thing that makes it even longer, possibly into a third book, making The Darkling Watch a trilogy is the research I’ve been doing. Early on in the writing stage I decided that Loki, Norse god of mischief and general iffy character, would be my antagonist. Thing was I didn’t know much about Norse mythology. So, once the novel was finished, I tracked down a few books on Norse mythology. As I worked on it I began to develop new ideas for both The Darkling Watch and my NaNo novel. What struck me most was the myth about Ragnorok, signalled by the freeing of Loki from his chains. In my novel Loki gets free and tries to end the world. With my research though I’m starting to think that maybe the end of the world should get closer to actually happening by the end and they all live happily ever after. The idea of shoving my characters through 3 years of winter is appealing, I do admit.

Yes I’m evil.

Why am I so relaxed about the time I’m taking to edit The Darkling Watch? Why do I not mind the fact that my novel has now turned into two, possibly three, books? Simply put... I’m self-publishing; on Amazon kindle and possibly in paperback. First though I need to finish the story and then I’ve got to find someone who can help with my cover. I have got a few ideas about that actually but more on the topic of book covers at a later date. But before all that I need to find a group of beta readers, something I’m not sure how to do, after the edits are done of course. For now though I’m enjoying the work and taking my time. I’m young and there’s nothing rushing me right now.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

RoW 80 Check-in and a rant about stationary.

Ok, it’s my...second check-in for RoW. My initial thoughts are that I’m doing ok with my goals but looking deeper it seems that I’m not doing as well as it first seemed. After a really productive start to the week my drive just seemed to go poof and I barely got anything done.

1. Plan/Write NaNo2012: That’s coming on quite well actually. I’ve gotten a rough outline developed and I’m pleased with how it’s looking so far. I’m planning on doing detailed outlines come next week, probably starting tomorrow. I didn’t plan as much as I intended to this week, only a couple of pages but I’m still happy with it.

2. Edit one chapter of Darkling Watch 1 a day: yeah... that one not so much. It seems I’ve lost steam again. I’m looking at the wordcount, looking at how far through I am and it’s just daunting. The original manuscript ended up about 110,000 words long, roughly 53 pages. I’m trying to read through, mark out what needs to be done and separate it all up into chapters. Essentially I think I’m making progress, look at where I am and it all feels slightly hopeless. I don’t know if this is just me being me and slightly depressive or if it’s a usual thing for authors to feel.

3. Finish and edit The Feral Diaries; Book 1: This one has actually been coming along quite well. I’ve been figuring out things about my characters, making rough timelines for when people appear and die and still writing. I’m not writing for this one everyday as I hoped but that’s going to change starting tomorrow. I’ve decided.

4. Plan The Feral Diaries; Book 2: I got some of this done this week. Not a lot but enough to keep me happy. Right now I’m focusing on the struggles that my characters will face, and the themes it’ll cover as opposed to any actual events. Oh I’ve got some events written down but I’ve just not gone indepth on planning them at the moment. Mostly because I don’t know the exact mental state that my characters will be in by the time these events happen. It’s a pretty dark series.

5. Outline and plan o.S.a.M: This one... yeah I sorta skipped on this one this week. With all my other stuff going on as well as trying to find a job I’ve been too busy to really think about it. I’ve got ideas in my mind about things I want to happen, I’ve just not put pen to paper and gotten them down yet. These ideas have stuff though, not disappeared as they are sometimes want to do.

6. Blog twice a week: I had a blog all planned out to write. I even started it. And then my internet went screwy on Wednesday night and I didn’t get it back until yesterday. This isn’t a my family thing either, it’s happened to other people. So I decided not to write the blog or put it up last night. Instead I’m going to do two posts next week. One on The Feral Diaries and one on Darkling Watch. Hopefully this will ease my guilt and make me feel much better.

Other goals

I decided to add two goals to my RoW80 after looking at the goals and blogs of some of my other companions on this challenge. They are not really devoted to writing but focus on my personal life which I realise I don’t talk about much on here.

1. Spend 30 minutes each day looking for a job: I’ve been unemployed since the beginning of February. I’m getting a bit sick of spending each day at home and not having any money to do what I want and buy what I want (mostly stationary). Don’t get me wrong, I have been looking each week for a job, I kind of have to in order to keep claiming my JSA but I feel like I’m not doing enough. So I’m putting this out there to encourage me to look harder and apply for anything and everything. Don’t get me wrong though, I spend most of my day doing productive writerly stuff but it may be the over-abundance of free time that’s making me less productive. Maybe if I get a job that’ll change. Plus it means I could buy a new laptop or a ton of stationary supplies (which I love, so if you know any cool sites for that pop a link in the comments).

2. Get more exercise: I’m a couch potato, a lounger. I smoke too much, I eat too much and I have a pretty serious tea addiction. I’m not as large as I used to be, particularly at this time last year, but I’m pretty tubby and I don’t like it. Especially when my sister swans around the house in very little clothing with the body of a dancer (incidentally she does dance). So I’m challenging myself to do a little bit of exercise each day, even if it’s a 30 minute walk around the village. Every little bit counts after all.

Monday, 8 October 2012

RoW80 Check-in

So... a little bit about whether or not I’m reaching my goals.

· Plan/write NaNoWriMo 2012 - pleased
This one is actually going quite well. I’ve managed to get a rough outline of the entire story and I’m slowly working out the details. I’ve even got names for two of the main characters.

· Edit one chapter of Darkling Watch Book 1 a day – very dissappointed
This one sort of stalled. Despite all my hopes for this novel (to be explained in a later post) it seems that I’ve actually lost the will to edit it right now. I’ve got a large chunk of it done though so I don’t feel too bad about not doing it. I’m more annoyed with myself for being inexplicably lazy about doing this.

· Finish and edit The Feral Diaries; Book 1 – middle ground
Originally I planned to write one entry a day and then go back and edit. I’ve not been doing that though. I’ve written a couple of entries but mostly I’ve been working out the logistics of what my characters are doing as well as going back through the entries I’ve already written and figuring out what I need to build on more. Oh and I’ve been working on a blog post to tell you all about it.

· Plan The Feral Diaries; Book 2 once a week – a bit meh.
I haven’t done much planning at all for Book 2 yet. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that Book 1 isn’t finished so I don’t really have an idea of where my characters are going to be by the beginning of Book 2. I have managed to get a little bit of outlining done for events that I want to happen in that book so I’m going to count this one as a success, barely.

· Outline and plan o.S.a.M twice a week – fail
I haven’t done any outlining on o.S.a.M all week. Not a single bit. I plan to do a bit today and providing I don’t get too tied up in writing The Feral Diaries I will hopefully have something to count as this week’s planning/outlining.

· Blog at least twice a week. – win
I’m pleased with myself for this one. I managed to write both a RoW80 post and a general post about my thoughts for the week and I actually put it up there. So this is a big win for me – two posts in one week that weren’t both RoW centric. Haven’t done that in about a year I don’t think.

And now on to one of my secret personal goals. I managed to get around to altering the appearance of my blog, as you can probably tell if you’re reading it. Before I wasn’t happy with it, it was all so blue and purple. Now though it’s a bit more attractive, if a little dark. I’m planning on talking with some friends who know about this stuff and hopefully I’ll have a new, better design soon. Fingers crossed.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Writerly A to Z (ignoring I and Q... 'cos those letters suck)

I saw a blog the other day that was an A – Z of writer type things and I really liked it. You can find it here. I realised that it really gave an idea of what the writer was like, in terms of their personality and what’s important to them. So... I decided to do my own. I know that I and Q are missing but I really couldn’t think of things to put there. Anyway, here’s my Writerly A – Z;

A – Acceptance. It’s a big deal to me that my parents accept that I want to be a writer. Of course they push me to find a job to tide me over and to get me away from the computer but they know that my dream is to be published. It’s actually gotten to the point now that they’re so accepting that they tell random strangers that I’ve finished a novel (no word of a lie, my mother actually said this to a couple we met on holiday recently. That’s another story that I might tell another time though. If you ask nicely)

B – Blog, blogging. I actually enjoy blogging so much. Yes, I know, I completely missed two months worth of posting but I honestly just forgot. I’m sucky like that. I do still love you all though and feel very guilty for ignoring you, however accidental it was. In seriousness though I use blogging and this blog as a way to work stuff out about myself, primarily how I write. Granted I have a writing journal where I jot down specific things for projects I’m working on but it’s easy to write for myself, it doesn’t matter. Trying to make my ideas understandable to strangers is harder and it makes my ideas become clearer in my mind. Yup, basically I just ramble at you all.

C – Characters. A novel would be nothing without them. They are the plot, their actions creating the tension, the drama, the really boring bits that you just end up skimming through. I have so many characters living in my head it feels like a hotel or a concert (possibly Justin Beiber. More likely Dolly Parton). We writers need characters to play with otherwise our megalomaniac tendencies or God Complex rear their ugly heads and we start trying to take over the world. We need these characters to do our bidding, to take the beatings we dish out, to act as stand-ins for that guy in the van who cut you up on the motorway. Is it healthy? Probably not. Is it fun? Hell yeah. Writers without characters are just weird people that mutter to themselves. We need them.

D – Darklings. It was the idea of the Darklings (yes, I know, you still have no idea what or who the Darklings are because I’ve been so silent on the topic. That will change. Soon.) that actually spurred me to look into writing a series. It’s such a flexible world with so many different characters for  me to play with that it seems ideal. Granted I’ve only dabbled with one or two different books right now but hopefully, once I get some more past the planning stage I can change that.

E – Excel, Microsoft. Excel is like my brain on the computer. I use it for everything; charting daily word-counts, tracking which characters are alive or dead (yes I’ve actually had to do that with the Feral Diaries), their roles, the different acts in each novel and so much more. Without Excel I’d have so many sheets of paper lying all over the place. I wouldn’t have room to move in my bedroom or on my desk. The ease of changing entries, the limitless possibilities... I love Excel

F – Feral Diaries, The. My newest novel idea (outside of the NaNoWriMo idea). Well I say novel but really I mean something else. There’ll be more about this in another post next week but for now I’ll just say that I’m really excited about it and it has the possibility of going further than I can imagine right now.

G – Garth Nix. He’s an exceptional fantasy writer and his books helped me to get through school in my teens. I hated school but I was guaranteed that when I read his books I could slip away into a whole other world. His books also helped me to get into writing fantasy novels, encouraging me to look into writing Young Adult too.

H – humour. I’m not really that funny. I know it, you know it, hell the bus driver I see once a week knows it. I try though, in the blog posts and my novels. I don’t specialise in laugh-out-loud humour though. I’m... witty I suppose, and sarcastic and dry, very dry. It works for me though and usually the funny happens when I’m not even trying to be funny. I’ve actually considered a career in stand-up comedy if the writing thing doesn’t work out for me.

J – Josh Guess. He’s a brilliant writer. I discovered him recently when I got a couple of books for my Kindle before I went on holiday. I read his novels Living with the Dead and I couldn’t put them down. Seriously, I’d be stood at the back door, having a cigarette with my Kindle clutched there in my hands, devouring the words. The way he writes is quite philosophical at times but it’s not a boring kind of way. He challenges his characters, does horrible horrible things to them but manages to make it better without using one of the old ‘the wizard did it’ clichés. That takes talent. And he’s dedicated.

K – knitting. I knit in winter. Not summer or when it’s too hot as my hands end up sweaty, I drop stitches and the wool goes ca-ca. Right now though all I can do is straight up knitting; squares, rectangles and long scarves. I need to learn to turn a heel or a toe or even to knit a hat. I find knitting helps me when I’m writing too as I can just sit there, playing with my wool and needles and think things through for my characters. It gives my hands something to do while my brain works. And if you know me in person you know my hands and brain are always going.

L – Living with the Dead. I mentioned this above. The idea is one that I’ve seen before but never that’s lasted this long. It’s the story of a zombie apocalypse (which if you know me you know I love) that started in March 2010. The thing is that it's not just a long running novel series. It's a daily blog. Since then Josh Guess, the author, has made a post almost every single weekday. That’s over 2 years, 5 days a week. It’s incredible and it’s inspiring. Most importantly it’s a really good read. I thoroughly recommend it if you like zombies or the apocalypse (maybe like is there wrong word there). This series has given me some pretty cool ideas for the Feral Diaries too.

M – my Mum. I’ve mentioned my mum up under A but she needs to be mentioned again. She is ridiculously supportive now that I know what I want to do. She tells people she works with about me being a writer. Sometimes she even takes supplies from work that she knows they’re throwing away and brings them home to me to use if she thinks they’ll be useful. She wants to read Darkling Watch in fact. But right now... no way. Either way, she supports me, encourages me and makes sure I don’t drive myself mad working on my novels. I love you Mum.

N – NaNoWriMo. It was NaNoWriMo that helped me to realise that I seriously wanted to be a writer and that I could actually manage it. In a month I almost finished a complete first draft of Darkling Watch and I wasn’t even fed up of it. I’d been getting ideas the entire time for other stories linked to the Darklings and the characters within the novel itself and I started work on those as soon as I was done. Granted in a normal month my word-count is nowhere near that high but it’s nice to know I could, and can, do it.

O – o.S.a.M. My pet project. My baby. The webcomic that just won’t be written. I’ve been working on this idea for over 6 months now and I’ve still not cracked it. I thought I had until I found some massive flaws and took it back to the drawing board. I’ll do an entire post about this at a later date, as I’ve said in my post on Monday. But in all seriousness, o.S.a.M is my baby and I’m going to keep working on it until I crack it and manage to do something with it. Who knows, it may even turn into an illustrated novel rather than a webcomic.

P – planning. I used to do the bare minimum of planning and when it came down to writing I’d be left with huge gaping plot holes or my novel would putter out of steam. Now though I’ve thoroughly embraced planning; creating timelines, character sheets, chapter outlines. I feel awkward and lose track of what I’m writing. I know some people are pantsers and that’s really great for them but I’m just not one of them. If you are though my hat goes off to you.

R – Research. Research is my life-blood. I love researching. Sometimes when I’m researching something will spark my imagination and a whole new idea will pop out at me. That’s how my idea for NaNo this year came about. Research is key in many of my novels, dealing as they do in history and mythology. I like to make sure the information I give is accurate although often things that I research barely show up at all, usually just a line or two if that. It makes me happy though and gives my writing a bit more of a 3 dimensional feel to it. Plus, I can always use it for other novels once it’s in my head.

S – Shan, Darren. Another fantastic fantasy/YA author. It’s from Shan that I’ve been encouraged and inspired to write long running novels. Often his novels come in series of 5 or more books, each with their own individual plots but with a long running story going through all of them. It’s fascinating reading them with a critical eye, seeing how the little bits and pieces build up into one interesting story. There’s a reason most of his story series are called Sagas.

T – targets. I have to set myself targets or I never get anything done. I’m inherently lazy sometimes, not doing anything unless I really have to and having targets, whether they’re weekly, monthly or daily just gives me a reason to work. Plus I just love seeing each item ticked or crossed off the list. I plan on writing an entire post about targets and why I love them though so I won’t go into too much detail of why I do right now.

U – unexpected, the. So many of my novels evolve past what I first imagine because I end up writing unexpected things. For instance, when I started writing The Darkling Watch I never imagined that it would turn into a three book thing. Nor did I imagine that the main antagonist would be Loki and the story would be piled high with mythology. Unexpected things happening in my writing is something that I love. It makes it richer, more intriguing and just a hell of a lot more fun. It also means I generally have more work to do in the editing stages though.

V – vacations. Or holidays as the British call them. I love taking a break, going away somewhere new, seeing new things, eating new things, doing new things. More often than not the change of scenery is really good for me. I get new ideas, fix old ideas or just get stuff done. It’s nice to just unwind as well and get a bit of reading done.

W – Webcomic. I’ve tried so many times to start a webcomic and I’ve either realised I’ve jumped in too soon or I don’t actually like the story I’m working on. So now I’m taking my time. But this one isn’t about my webcomic. It’s about webcomics in general. I love to read webcomics. They’re fun, quick and a daily source of entertainment for me. Plus, they more often than not give me some kind of inspiration, whether for a tricky plot point or a new idea. I like them and read a lot of them. Speaking of, I should really get caught up with the ones I’ve missed since I went away.

X – x-rated material. I have x-rated material in the Darkling Watch. There’s probably going to be x-rated material in The Feral Diaries. No matter what I end up with some kind of sex scene in my novels. They get taken out usually. Sometimes I leave them in if they’re actually  useful to the story. It irks me though that these scenes keep popping up in my writing. Maybe I need to get laid....

Y –Young-Adult. I’ve started to branch out into writing Young Adult novels. It’s not something that I really considered before but I realised that maybe I should. The plots tend to be less tangled, the characterisation a lot simpler and they’re actually entertaining without going plot or exposition heavy. The Darklings series (not Darkling Watch) already has a couple of ideas mapped out for YA novels which surprises me as The Darkling Watch is a decidedly adult novel, what with the death and the sex and the drinking. But yes, I like to read YA novels and I think I might actually enjoy writing them too.

Z – zombies. I couldn’t mention zombies twice for other letters without including it here. I love the zombie genre, in film, graphic novel and book form. I found some truly unique ways of making it work in writing and some... well, really clichéd examples of bad zombie novel writing. The genre is so adaptable, it can be used to make a profound comment on human society or it can be just a good read/watch. It depends on how hard you’re willing to work. Hopefully, one day soon I can write an actual zombie novel myself instead of just reading them.

So there you go, hope you enjoyed reading that and seeing into the inky depths of my mind. Catch you Sunday with one of my RoW80 Check-In posts.

Monday, 1 October 2012

RoW80: Round Four - Looking Back and Looking Forward

Before I list my targets for this round of RoW80 I thought I’d get a little something off my chest.
I was a little disappointed in Round Three, mostly with myself. I met most of my targets each week but I just didn’t bother to update. It seems that’s a common flaw with me. I forget to blog, getting so engrossed in my other writing that it completely passes over my head. In fact, looking at the site I’ve not blogged in over 2 months. That is ridiculously disappointing. But I have reasons for not blogging. Some of them are flimsy excuses that don’t really hold up but others are more emotional, based in fear of letting you, my dear readers, down. Some of this is because I feel guilty that all I’m ever doing is telling you all about how well I’m meeting my targets or how bad I feel for being a lazy bugger. The other is that I feel guilty about only blogging about my RoW80 goals. Before I found RoW80 I’d blog about my thoughts on certain areas of writing or show some of my work (mostly the artistic variety) but since January a lot of my blogs have been devoted to RoW80.

But now I’ve decided to change all this. Round 4 of RoW80 is upon us, it’s October, the beginning of autumn (yes I use autumn, not fall. It’s a British/Me thing) and a chance to start afresh. Particularly as I just got back off holiday where I spent an entire day re-seeing the contents of my stomach (but that’s another story). So... onwards.

  1. Plan/write NaNoWriMo 2012
  2. Edit one chapter of Darkling Watch Book 1 a day (yes, there is now a book one and this will be explained) 
  3. Finish and edit The Feral Diaries; Book 1
  4. Plan The Feral Diaries; Book 2 once a week
  5. Outline and plan o.S.a.M twice a week
  6. Blog at least twice a week.

And now, because I’ve clearly got so much in my head about these goals I’m going to explain them. Partially for you, dear readers, but mostly for me so I finally know what on earth is going on in my crazy little wormhole they call a brain.

1) Plan/Write NaNoWriMo 2012 -  I’ve included this one because even though it’s pretty much a given that I’ll be participating in NaNo again this year I’m a little worried that I’ll forget to actually do any planning or writing what with all my other work that I’m doing. I love NaNoWriMo because it helped me realise that yes, I want to be a writer, and that yes, I can actually finish stuff when I set out to. So it goes in. As target number 1 in fact, so important is it to me. Incidentally I’m trying to beat my word count from last year of 105,000 words.

2) Edit one chapter of Darkling Watch; Book 1 a day - Yes, I’m still chipping away at this bad boy and yes it has now been divided into more than one book. I’m planning on writing an entire post on the Darkling Watch Trilogy as there’s a lot of information and thoughts I want to share with you all. That and, once more, it helps me to figure out what I’m actually thinking when I write it down and get it out there.

3) Finish and edit The Feral Diaries; Book 1 - This is a new work for me, a little different from my usual style and genre so I’m actually pushing myself as a writing with this one. I came up with the idea when I was planning for Camp NaNo (the mini NaNoWriMo that runs in June and August) as I sat at Skegness with a busted ankle. Needless to say that was a boring week for me. Any who, because I’m so excited about this new ‘novel’ and it was such an interesting process for how I’ve been working on it I’ll be doing a separate post about this as well.

4) Plan The Feral Diaries; Book 2 - Yes... there’s more than one for this as well. Or at least there was when I was planning it. Now though, because of how the story has developed it’s not really two books, or even three. Yes I know I’m being vague but I just want to tell you all about this right and to do that I really do need a post all about The Feral Diaries and The Feral Diaries alone.

5) Outline and plan o.S.a.M twice a week - I know, I know. I finished it, at least the originally script. But then I was talking it out with a friend, a fairly gifted storyteller in her own right, because I was having some iffy feelings about it. It didn’t really fit at all my original vision of the story, the characters were good but not really fitting into the roles I’d plonked them in and the entire thing just felt a bit off to me. So, with her advice and the amount of help she gave me as we hashed the problems out I decided to rewrite it, starting from scratch. So there; I’m starting all over again and o.S.a.M is now back at the very first planning stages. It needs a lot of work but I’m taking it slow because it’s a long term project that I’m going to have to live with, possibly for years.

6) Blog at least twice a week – I mentioned at the top of this post how disappointed and guilty I felt because I was only blogging about RoW80 and whether or not I was reaching my goals. Now I’m setting myself an actual blogging RoW target. Once a week I’ll blog about whether I’m reaching my targets or not. The other blogs... well they’re going to be more like the original posts were; thoughts on the creative process, my headway and discoveries about my work, the obvious mentions of the projects I’m working on. Too often I’m really vague about my projects, worried they’ll be silly or stolen. No more. I won’t be telling too many secrets (spoilers darling!) but I plan to give more information about them than I have done. I’ve even got a long list of things I want to blog about that are in no way related to RoW80. Isn’t it exciting?!

I do want to mention that I have other targets for myself that I’ve not included here in my RoW80 targets. The reasons for not including them are multiple.
First off; I don’t like the pressure and restriction of having so many targets written down. I think 6 is a fairly nice amount, not loading me down too heavily but giving me enough things to push at and work towards. More than that and I’d just be looking at this long list of things I feel like I HAVE to do and I lose all love of writing. I don’t want that to happen.
Secondly; the other targets aren’t really measurable. Not in the sense that the ones above are. These ones are more... vague outlines of stuff that I need to do for various projects. World building, timelines, chapter arcing and stuff like that. There’s not really a way to measure how successful I am at meeting them as there is no end game, no point at which I can say ‘There, I’ve done it, I hit my target’ like with Darkling Watch where I know I’ve edited a chapter because I reach a natural chapter break and save it on a separate document (explanations for this will come. I promise).
Lastly; I want some privacy. I know, it’s a little weird. Here I am on the net, blogging and telling you all about my projects and the crazy thoughts that go on in my head. But that’s the thing. I might tell you a lot but there’s got to be something kept back. Something for me that is just mine. Something that only I and my writing journal know. Some of it is also that I’ve got a few things in mind that I want to keep a surprise or that are going to take a while to implement. Know this though. When I do manage to meet one of my secret targets you’ll know about it. Whether you’re seeing it on the blog site itself or reading about it in one of my entries. You’ll know it when you see it.
Mostly because I’ll spell it out for you all.

But for now I’ll leave it be and sign off. I’ve rambled on for well over 1000 words and now I’m just getting to the loopy stage of my writing. So, I’ll go back to my editing and have an early night. Tomorrow I’ll wake with eerie optimism, get back to work and hopefully you’ll hear from me again in a few days.
See you later and keep writing.