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A good week

This week has been a really good week. Despite us all having colds I am making excellent progress on this revision (only 10 scenes to go!). We’ve been doing lots of fun learning about lizard, more specifically monitor lizards, even more specifically the komodo dragon. I got to introduce the kids to Steve Irwin and we’ve watched his komodo dragon episode like once a day for the last three days. EXCELLENT I say.

Have been planning my youngest’s 3rd birthday party as well which is fun. I love hearing her input. She wants a blue dinosaur cake, a pinata, macaroni cheese, savaloys and sauce, and lemonade, and that’s pretty much it. In all her sweetness, she has made sure to invite all her family members – it’s lovely to have that confirmation that these are the people she loves the most.

I’ve started putting scenes from my novella out for feedback, which has been fun and means I am going over all the beginning scenes again, so it’s kind of like a double revision round, I guess. I’m really liking the way it’s coming together this time, so fingers crossed it won’t need too much more work. I know I could spend weeks poring over it, getting every sentence perfect, but who has time for that? Onwards!

This week has also seen me finish off a short story, which was a lot of fun. I haven’t done ‘creepy’ in a long time. I’d forgotten a) how much squick factor can be involved and b) how much fun it is watching someone as they read your story and just knowing which bits they are up to when they cringe or wince or just look terribly troubled. Muahaha.

Oh, AND I got to okay the ‘galley’ for my short story. That is always so cool! I love seeing how my story will look in the book, it makes me crazy happy!

If all of those things haven’t been wonderful enough, the timetable for Au Contraire was released and I’ve looked through it many times, imagining how my weekend away is going to go. Too much fun!

So, I am one very happy writer at the moment ๐Ÿ™‚ Everything is ticking along beautifully – long may it continue. I hope you’re all having a good week too!

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Found my groove!

Well, it took a little bit, but I finally got there! Have been managing to revise at least a scene a day for these last few days – and worked out the main issue getting between me and working.ย 

I had to pretty much rewrite the entire beginning of this novella. Five brand new scenes, which changed a whole lot. The story is much better for it, but it was hard slog, and I was feeling pretty low energy about it all. Of course, now that it’s done, I love it ๐Ÿ˜‰ I guess after spending so much time deep in assignment writing, I wasn’t quite ready for more hard work. Very pleased that bit is over with though, and now I can get to the less difficult task of revision rather than rewriting.

There are still a few new scenes to go in, because I decided to add a second pov. I think it will give me wider scope for the books to follow and am enjoying fleshing Noah out a little more now that I have room to do that.ย 

I’m really super excited about this series. It’s really fun writing in a New Zealand setting, and tapping into my heritage has been a blast. All the weird, quirky stuff that happened while I was growing up is finding a way into these books which just makes it that much more fun to write. I hope that people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

One day, I’ll get to find out!

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Post semester slump

It happens every time. You would think I’d have a cure for it by now. A management strategy. Something to tide me over until I kick back into gear. But nope. I got nothing.

I handed in my last assignment a week ago, so am finished study for the semester. I had HIGH hopes for this lull time – for starters, I was going to rewrite/revise my novella! And then outline the crap out of novella two, before starting to write that beginning of July.

It might still happen, providing I can kick this exhaustion to the curb and get myself back on track. I think, perhaps, if the last week of my semester hadn’t sucked so much, I might be feeling different this time, but one can never really know.

For starters, 2 weeks ago my chickens were killed by stray dogs. And then I got a tummy bug. I managed to get back on my feet on Monday, only to spend Mon/Tue frantically trying to finish off my assignment and get it submitted. Needless to say, I began my mid-semester break worn out, and a week later I’m still working on finding my new groove.

I know it will come, but I can’t sit around waiting for that to happen. Who has the time for that? So, this is me saying that one week is enough. I’ve had ups and downs, and done a bit of writer wailing about what a slacker I am. Time to get back to work.

What do you do when you’re in a slump? Would love to hear how other people deal with it!

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Cough, splutter, cough

I’ve been sick for the last week, which has been incredibly not fun. The saving grace is that the kids managed to avoid catching the same thing, which would have been terrible. I can’t breathe, and breathing is so very important! Well, today I can breathe a little easier, finally, but no running or jumping for me. It almost kills me lol

This has meant not as much writing has happened recently. Which is a shame. I started the month off with gusto, and then fall flat a little, though not because of the story – because of ME.

My story is awesome. I’m sitting around 13.5K at the moment, and there are around 3 scenes/5,000 words to go. This should put me right at the bottom end of the word count guidelines for the place I want to submit it, and gives me plenty of room to expand where necessary and play in this wonderful world I have.

I have to say that I think this novella is the least populated that I have written to date. Considering the length of it, that is. I’ve had short stories with only three characters, one with just two. But when the other main characters are a baby and a dead person, it makes dialogue a little tricky at times. I firmly believe dialogue is important though, so its lucky that I know from experience that people talk to babies ALL THE TIME, just like they talk to cats and other things that can’t talk back.

Anyway, I’m kind of hoping to finish up the first draft this week. Then I can let it simmer for a week before giving it a tidy up and passing it on to my crit group. It feels really great to have set the goal of writing it in one month and actually knowing that I can achieve that. Does wonders for my confidence as a writer.

Now I just need to set some firm goals for the StR rewrite. And follow through on those, as well. I’m starting to get a better shape of my day sorted out in my head, seeing patterns of time blocks that will work for me. It’s not just a matter of making sure I don’t waste those on unimportant things, like facebook, and twitter… damn those evil sites which eat time. Maybe it’s time to go on haitus again?

Anyway, enough about me. Tell me about you! What are you all up to at the moment?

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A new title for the new vision

TCM has undergone quite an overhaul (at least, the outline of it has, I’m yet to get into ripping the organs out of it and replacing them with better working parts), and as such, the title is now completely irrelevant. I think I mentioned this a few months back… ย Ah yup. I did.

Anyways! Seeing as Sun-Touched is now finished, and I’m reworking TCM, the time has come to rename it. I was talking about it with Merrilee just yesterday and she fired off a bunch of names. This morning I went through and put them all into Goodreads to see which ones have been used plenty (this is a great tool! you don’t want a name that already has 10 books sharing the title).

I’m pleased to announce that TCM now has a new working title, and it’s Surplus To Requirements. Which I guess means it’ll become STR. I can handle that. It fits the story, which isย about a girl who flunks out of her final tests and so is set to be shipped off Earth with the other failures to help pre-colonize planets for the worthy. There is no room for failures on Earth, hence she is surplus to requirements.

I also purchased Scrivener a few days ago. I’ve had the trial version for ages, but keep forgetting to start working in it. Logically, I know it’s a good move, but I just haven’t made the leap yet – well, until yesterday. I opened it up, filled in the scene cards for the first act, and started the first scene of the novel. I’m really excited about the direction it’s taking now, and am looking forward to bringing you snippets of it as I go.

It’s Mother’s Day today (Happy M’day to everyone!), and I’m hoping that means I can get maybe an hour to myself this afternoon to write. That would be the best gift right now. I want to start making a dent in this thing ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Thank goodness for that!

My assignment has been uploaded to my course website where it sits waiting for marking. I feel a world of relief that it’s out of my hands. I did my best, and I can now go back to the fun stuff – academic reading and writing worlds of my own creation!!

This past week as been an interesting time. Normally when I’m not working on a story it’s because I am having a rough patch in life, or writers block, or some other lame reason. This time it was because I HAD to get my assignment done. I didn’t have any energy or thought left for my fun stuff. As a result I craved fiction harder than I have in a long time. I was itching to get back into my story. DYING to reconnect with the characters and when I opened up my files for planning this morning it was like I’d entered heaven.

Pure bliss.

Planning. Outlining. Lining up character arcs and fleshing out details and oh my oh my oh my. Yes it was that good. I feel this sense of peace in my body and mind. Like I’ve had a hit of the drug I love best. I might actually be able to sleep properly tonight, now that the coils of my creative mind have been allowed to stretch and burn off some energy.

I’m so excited to be working on TCM. It’s going to be an awesome book when I am finished with it. The beginning of a kick ass series.

I feel like I’ve been living in an alternate universe for this last week – whats new with you?

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There and back

We went for a road trip on Tuesday to Palmerston North. We had an appointment there at 130pm and it’s roughly a 3 hour trip there, 3 hours back. I’d arranged for a few friends to meet us at the park there because I knew the kids would need a good run around after sitting for so long.

The travel sucked, for the most part – though full credit to Ivy, she’s a fab traveler these days (apart from starting to ask if we were there yet only 10 mins into the journey), and Lauren, who did a lot better than last time and only really cried because Natalie was screaming her head off (and we have to travel long distance again in a month, ug!).

I lived in Palmy for four years or so, back at the start of the century (LOL! that sounds so funny) and haven’t spent much time there since. It was nice to show Ivy some of my fav places, to play on the giant mouse wheels with her. I have a lot of fond memories of that place and it’s nice to know that time and being happy with where I’m at in life can drown out the bad memories.

Anyways, this is just a ramble really. It’s been days since I blogged, or really wrote. I have a nasty cough/cold and while it’s on the mend, I just feel like doing a lot of nothing. I read through my assassin story yesterday and can see where the main holes are, I really need to get it fixed up and polished soon as the deadline for submission is end of the month. Tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll have the headspace and energy for it.

In other news, Mocha Nihilism is ticking along nicely. I really like the story, I am enjoying rewriting it so much and wow, it’s a lot easier than first drafting!!! It always surprises me when that’s the case. I used to think the first draft was the most fun to write, but it’s not always the case.

And I’m getting a good idea of the shape of Delaney’s novel too, which I hope to start writing in December. I’m going to pick a notebook for it, so that I can start jotting things down. I have the start of the novel (written a few months ago for the Creativity Workshop Merrilee ran), so now it’s just a matter of working out the kinks in the plot and getting the rest of the novel sorted.

Yay!

Anyways, hope you’re all well. I hope to not be feeling so flat and be back into the writing tomorrow.

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Oh look! I have a revision brain!

I’ve been working on rewriting/tidying up my Snow White story over the last few days, and finally managed to get a better ending written for it. It’s now in pretty good shape I would say, ties in better with the original story, ties the beginning and climax in together better. All that good stuff. It still needs some tightening, but all in all, this phase is done.

I pushed it out of my mind last night thinking that I would head to bed and actually do some reading. Instantly the next story that needs work jumped into my brain. I’ve been trying to get this one in particular right for YEARS now, but it’s always felt so firmly entrenched in the way that it was initially written that I couldn’t seem to get my head around a rewrite.

Until last night. I went to bed, sat down, and outlined the entire new version of the story and you know what? It’s going to be so much better than the original!

It got me to thinking that perhaps the way I’ve stumbled into doing my short stories isn’t so bad after all – perhaps what my brain needed in order to be able to clearly revise things was for me to say ‘hey look brain, this is what we’re doing now’, because it seems to have naturally shifted over from coming up with new ideas into figuring out how to make the ones I do have better. The first one was a struggle, but I’m feeling incredibly positive about the next few stories on the list.

So maybe this is how I work best? Writing a few shorts at a time, then revising them one after the other rather than mixing all the processes up and working at different stages on different stories. That always seemed like it would be the best way to do them, but if I need a more clear head space for each process than so be it.

I’m now looking forward to a good months worth of revision, and to having 5-6 pieces in good shape well before this baby arrives. I might even get a chance to switch back to writing fresh stories before then if I’m lucky ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Tidying up

I cleaned my desk yesterday, and put all the books back on the shelves. I got rid of all the clutter and junk that had accumulated and it feels really nice to sit here now. I have some space to think, space to breath, which is exactly what I was hoping for with November not far away now!

The rest of the house is looking pretty good too by the way, I’ve been blitzing all the little tasks that I’ve been ignoring and I can really see that the place is coming together. It’s amazing what a few good cleaning sessions can do to change the way you feel.

Anyway… in the depths of the junk on my desk, I found notes for a story that I have yet to rewrite! I sat down for a few minutes and looked through them while thoughts began to spark and it made me really want to get stuck into the rewrite – I put it through Critters this time last year and got a lot of really great feedback. I may have a chance this month because I actually managed to get back on track with the critique I am working on (three chapters yesterday!).

Following Faith has been put aside for now, though I’ve got lots of plans for when I get the time to rework it. As it stands I imagine I’ll be writing the first draft of Riana for the rest of this year, hopefully finishing up late December, I might do another novella in January (a Kiwiwriters challenge that I like to do every year), at which point I can rework Following Faith… seriously, I have enough work lined up for years to come and thats not counting in any new novels!

Anyways, better get on with the day, there are always things to do.

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5 days left of the month!

Oh man, where has the time gone? I feel like this last year has shot by so fast with all the different things happening in my life. It’s certainly been jam packed, and doesn’t sound like its going to slow down any time soon either.

We had a difficult sleep patch yesterday which meant that in the end I gave up and let her fall asleep on me and wasn’t able to get any revision stuff done. I did read through both the synopsis and the new ending again, and was pleasantly surprised but unable to really do much one handed, I opted to start reading through Branwen again.

It’s so strange jumping back into that world, considering that it was begun more than two years ago now. I can see that my writing has come a long way since then, though the story is still engaging and reasonably well told I am pretty sure that it’s going to need to be completely rewritten. Which is okay, I think it deserves the time and attention to getting it done right. It will be even more interesting reading through the second novel, Ayden, because I was tackling a much larger cast. I can already pick up on the threads that need strengthening and have been pleasantly surprised to find them in place in the first novel when I had no idea that the idea was going to span more than just the one book.

I’m really looking forward to beginning the third novel. Without even looking at book two I remember exactly where I left off and what was to come. I love these characters, and I have such a great time when writing them, nothing else really matters when you have that pure enjoyment in the writing of a story. Ah, it’s going to be a blast, even though some of them won’t make it out alive.

Anyway… that brings us to today! She’s sleeping now and I’ll be getting on with the work very soon. The end of the month is approaching fast, and while I don’t think I’ll be ready to start querying just then, it won’t be long after. So exciting.