Saturday, 18 August 2012

Whoopsie... I found Polyvore

This past week has been, on the whole, very productive. Having read my plea for writing discipline, my colleague, fellow writer and talented playwright Kris took pity on me and arranged an enforced writing day, whereby we met up at one of his secret writing locations and spent the day writing. It couldn't have been timed better!

Only the night before, I'd had an epiphany regarding the WIP. Originally intending to write the novel from two POVs (an elderly woman and her teenage granddaughter), it became less feasible as the story developed. Their situations became too big; too separate.

I love both of them, so it was decided. One novel became two. Nanny's story is being put on the back burner until the time comes to revive her. She joins my NaNo 2011 novel on the "To Be Written Properly" shelf, waiting to be plucked from hibernation and smartened up.

Armed with this new outlook, I tidied up the outline of my current WIP (I should probably give it a title), and everything seemed to just fit into place. Before, I'd used Nanny's story to flesh out the novel; to keep things interesting and give it a comical, eccentric break from what is essentially a very harrowing story. When I lifted Nanny's part away from the WIP, I also lifted a plethora of restrictions and obstacles.

The path is clear now, and I'm happily running down it.

Remember I said I was considering buying a rucksack so I could bring the laptop into work (without being mugged on the way in), to write on my lunch breaks? Well... I asked my twin, Irene, what she thought of this and she calmly replied "I'd rather be mugged than seen wearing a rucksack. Take the laptop bag and carry a knife."

I managed to compromise and found myself a gorgeous bag, big enough to hold the laptop (a fiver from Primark. Result!). I've since spent a few lunch hours writing and have been surprised by how much I can get done in less than an hour!

It's just as well I'm getting some work done, as I spent a ridiculous amount of time on Polyvore last night, creating outfits. I'm making a public promise to stay away from it (until next weekend), lest it take over my life. In the meantime, I want to share the beautiful little outfits I made with you. Sigh... aren't they precious?

Pretty in Pink


Black & Plum


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Game On Blog Tour

Most participants of the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2012 are probably seeing this image splattered all over their news feed at the moment:

Kyra had the genius idea of using the challenge to write a scene each day, from the POV of some of the lead characters. It was an excellent way for us to get to know them and drummed up a lot of excitement for when the novel was released a few months later.

I haven't followed many blog tours, admittedly, but there's something about this one that strikes me as original and a thousand times more interesting than the usual ones you see, where the author jumps on someones blog, shouting "here's my book. Buy it." 

So far, I've seen her design character outfits with Clare Dugmore, talk about what music inspired her writing with Alex J Cavanaugh, and we've even been taken on a design tour of Leah & Freya's apartment with Dani from Entertaining Interests.

I wanted to ask Kyra two simple questions that I'd love to ask all authors (and feel free to answer them yourself in the comments box!). So I asked her:

What was the process of writing your book like (for instance, did you use software like Scrivener to compile it? Did you do timelines, or each POV in whole before splitting them up? [I asked this when I thought Radleigh was getting a POV too])

The only tool I use for writing is Microsoft Word. I'm not a planner by any means, so I just wrote the whole story right out of my head and onto the page. Game On only has one POV, though there were many times when I considered making it half Leah, half Radleigh. Generally speaking, I find timelines restrictive, BUT, I did have to work out a few dates and things in my head at certain times. Now I'm keeping the story going for a few more books, though I will have to break tradition and draw up at the very least a simple timeline to make sure I get everything just right!

What advice would you give to new writers, trying to write their first novel?

I think the best advice I can give is that you can't rush it. There is a lot to learn, and it can't be done over a weekend. It can't be done over a few weeks. Writing a book that feels just right to you takes a long time, and you have to be prepared to put in the work, and to learn the best ways to craft your writing. Keeping that in mind, you shouldn't spend too long trying to learn. The more you write, the more you learn, and the same goes for reading. Read blogs by writers, and absorb their wisdom because it is absolutely invaluable. And don't ever give up on yourself, even when it gets tough - and it will! Self-belief is the key!

Excellent advice, Kyra! :)

I'm still reading Game On at the moment, and enjoying it thoroughly. If you like your "will they/won't they?" contemporary romances, this one's for you! Here's the details if you'd like to read it yourself:

Game On Synopsis
After swapping her small town life to work for one of the top soccer teams in the U.S, Leah Walker thought she could finally leave the ghosts of her past behind. However, when she meets serial womanizer, Radleigh McCoy, the memories of her old life come swarming back, and she is forced to ask herself whether she has really changed at all.

Game On Buy Links


Friday, 10 August 2012

Sunny days...

Just popping in to say... I took my last post to heart and have been writing short stories comprised of bizarre (and sometimes outrageous) memories and musings, instead of looking elsewhere for inspiration. Retreating to my old desktop computer (with no Internet access... this is vital), I made a list of all the possible things I could write about. My fingers near flew off the keyboard, I tell ye! :)

I've completed two short story first drafts already today. Thank you to my virtual prison guards for locking me in. It's utterly glorious outside, so I have been taking the occasional break in the garden. Not without my notepad, I hasten to add!

Here's to a weekend of productive writing, everyone. Have a good one. x

Somebody want to cut my grass for me?


Saturday, 4 August 2012

Writing from the inside out

This morning, I was thinking to myself: what would happen if I were to go somewhere, far far away, for one year, with no laptop/computer, no Internet, no communication with the outside world, no books to read (shocking, I know!); just a stash of pen & paper, basic maintenance like food etc, and my own company?

Quieting all the instant objections (what about your loved ones? Your work? Money?), I imagine I would have to make a new writing routine for myself. One that didn't involve research (Internet or otherwise), social networking, reading other people's work, or finding new writing excersizes to try out.

What would happen?

I suppose I'd probably get some actual writing done. Unspoiled writing; untainted, using only what's in my head and heart to fuel my words. That's how they did it in the olden days, didn't they? The works of Shakespeare and Charles Dickens weren't too shabby, were they?

But what would I write about?

Probably the same things I'm trying to write about right now; things I'm allowing outside factors to interfere with. I know what this is... I've so little confidence in my own words, I'm looking to others for direction and improvement. And, what's worse, I'm looking in places that make me feel even more inadequate! 

At this moment in time, I don't need inspiration. I don't need new ideas. I just need to work with what I've got, inside.

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

I need to find out what my truest sentence is.

I have no inclination to abandon my current life for a life of complete solitude (as much as I jest about my desire to live a hermit lifestyle), I am, however, going to become a part-time hermit, mentally. I'm going to try "reclusive writer" on for size. 

Like René Descartes, I'm going to discard all my prior beliefs, and just work with what remains in my heart. It might be shit, but it's my shit, goddammit!

Anyone who's read more than two of my posts might notice a pattern evolving here. One minute, I'm glorifying all the great writing resources available, the next I'm turning my back on them in defiance. Yes, I'm a bit mental. I hope to look back on this indecisiveness one day and say "ah... I'm so glad I've got my act together now." Fingers crossed.

There will come a time when I have to share my work with readers and critics, and when it does, I'll know every word of it was written earnestly, comprised 100% of true sentences.

Consider myself locked up in my writing room. Does anyone want to have the key? I may have to be forced into the room, every now and then!


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

#IWSG: Déjà vu

Today is my first post as part of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, which consists of a bunch of lovely bloggers who post on the first Wednesday of the month with all their writing insecurities. I’ve got plenty of these, so it's a given I’d be into this.

I'm the 226th member! Click here to see the list of other participants (and to join up yourself, perhaps?).

So what are my writing insecurities? Well (CAUTION: ANGST AHEAD), my main fear at the moment is that, in my effort to learn how to write well, I'm going round in circles and absorbing nothing! I keep having all these “epiphanies” about what step to take next, then realise I’d already thought of (and dismissed) that idea some months previously.

It’s like I'm taking one step forward and two steps back.

The other day, for instance, I started thinking about a TV Program I used to watch, called Fat Friends. Anyone remember it? It was a show based around a slimming group, and we got to delve into the lives of each of the slimmers. It was a warm fuzzy comedy with likeable characters and plenty of emotional issues.

Realising how important the community aspect could be in a good story, I resolved to come up with lots of good “community” ideas for future stories.

But then I thought to myself: wait, this sounds familiar. I consulted an old “story idea” spreadsheet made in June last year, and found this:

(By the way, I have no idea what the hell a Cider Farm is. Is that even a real thing?)

And that's another thing: all these spreadsheets and print-outs and worksheets are just feeding my insecurity! The only thing that will get rid of my insecurity is getting it done, for crying out loud (sorry, I'm in complete despair at my lack of progress). 

I've resolved to start bringing my laptop into work to do a bit of writing on my lunch breaks. I need to get a big bag/rucksack first, though. Cutting about Glasgow with a laptop bag at 6am just screams *mug me, please*. Here's a hilarious Limmy sketch to back this up.

I think insecurity breeds on silence. It’s good to talk to other writers; to vent and not be considered a weirdo for having the audacity to dream of being a writer.

Yesterday, I met the lovely Anne from Is Anyone There for a coffee and a gab. Not only was it great to meet such a sweet person, it was wonderful to just talk about writing with someone who can relate.

Speaking of people who can relate, I look forward to visiting the other #ISWG bloggers when I get home from work tonight!

What are your writing insecurities? Feel free to share (and make me feel less exposed haha) x