Ready, Set, WRITE! (Week 8)

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Happy Monday, lovelies!

It’s time for the eighth Ready, Set, WRITE! update. If you’re wondering what Ready, Set, WRITE! is, well it’s basically an awesome summer intensive for writers to set goals and cheer each other on (not to mention be cheered on by other amazing writers!). You can find out more about it and join us, here.

Sorry for my absence these past few weeks. I needed a bit of a break from, well, everything. I went on holiday a couple of weeks ago and didn’t take my laptop with me. It kind of felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It was nice. Anyway, I’m back and I’m ready to get back into blogging and writing.

HOW I DID ON LAST WEEK’S GOALS:

Well I haven’t been setting myself goals these past few weeks. I’ve kind of just been taking things as they come. So, I’ll just give you a run down on what I’ve achieved this week.

  • I went back to an old contemporary YA draft that I never finished. I re-worked what I already had and then added another 14K this week. Currently the draft is sitting at 29K.
  • I started writing Europe!Book by hand (I’m doing something totally different with this draft, which I’ll share with you soon). I haven’t gotten very far yet but I know this draft is going to take a while.

MY GOALS FOR THIS WEEK:

  • My big goal for this week would be to finish a rough draft of this contemporary YA draft, but considering that means I’d have to write about 20K this week, I’m not sure that’s going to happen. I can hope though.
  • Research France for Europe!Book.
  • Finish the books that I’m currently reading.

ONE WORD/PHRASE THAT SUMS UP WHAT I WROTE:

Nerdy

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE I FACED THIS WEEK:

Turning off the inner editor. This draft is currently an absolute mess and there have been countless times when I think I should give up but I keep reminding myself that all first drafts are awful and that writing is actually re-writing (something I’m pretty good at).

SOMETHING I LOVE ABOUT MY WIP:

My MCs voice. She’s so damn sarcastic.

How did you do this week?

The Week I Fell In Love With Edinburgh

Last week I went up to Edinburgh with my lovely friend Sophie, and it was amazing. Honestly, I didn’t want to leave. We managed to fit a lot in during the week we were there, so I thought I’d share a few snippets from our trip.

We took a trip to Edinburgh Zoo. I’m not going to lie, this is what I was looking forward to the most and I loved every second of it. You could walk through some of the animals enclosures, so I got up close to a lemur who was adorable. And they had a penguin parade which was all forms of adorable.

Edinburgh Zoo 2

On Wednesday, we hiked up Arthur’s Seat. It took us a while and there were multiple times when we thought we’d almost made it to the top only to realise that there was more to go. It was worth the trek though. Just look at that view.

Arthur's seat 2

Later in the week, we headed to The Elephant House because we’re massive Potter fans. It was really cool to see the amount of love that people feel for the series and how much it means to people. Plus the cake was amazing.

Edinburgh Elephant House

On Friday, Sophie headed off to YALC and I spent the day wandering around Edinburgh on my own. I took a trip to Leith and went to go see Ant-Man. Then I climbed Carlton Hill and took some photos of the beautiful view. And I think that’s when I really fell in love with Edinburgh. It was beautiful and peaceful and I just wanted to stay there.

Carton Hill 2

I left my laptop at home for the week and it was nice to get away from everything, but I did manage to do some writing. I did a lot by hand and started working on Europe!Book finally. Most of the writing happened in my new favourite Costa, which had such a beautiful view. I mean, how is that not inspiring.

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Anyway, that’s how we spent our time in Edinburgh.

Have you ever been?

I would definitely love to go back one day.

TBR Decimation Challenge!

I have declared a book buying ban!

It’s on Twitter, therefore it’s official.

My TBR has somehow become out of control. Actually, I know how, I keep buying more and more books that’s how. And the more books I add to my TBR pile the less I actually read because I struggle with deciding what to read next. So I’ve decided the time has come to destroy my TBR pile once and for all. Upon seeing my tweet, the lovely Emma Marie suggested I take part in Cole’s awesome TBR DECIMATION! challenge.

 

TBR pile

The bookshelf is double rowed as well, so it’s worse than it looks.

So, I’ll be following Cole’s rules for the challenge, which are as follows:

      1) I’m not including Kindle books in this.

      2) The non-fiction books I’m reading for research do not count either.  

But I’m also going to add in my own third rule:  

      3) I can’t buy anymore books until I’ve finished every single book on the this TBR (though I’m going to cheat a little as I already have 2 books on pre-order, but that’s it).

Now my TBR pile is substantially larger than Cole’s was, so I foresee this taking me up to the end of the year at least. Honestly, I would love to start 2016 with a clean slate. While I’m taking part in this, I’m going to stop doing the monthly TBR and wrap-up posts, but instead I’ll be posting an update every Sunday.

Wish me luck!  

Ready, Set, WRITE! (Week 4)

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Happy Monday, lovelies!

It’s time for the third Ready, Set, WRITE! update. If you’re wondering what Ready, Set, WRITE! is, well it’s basically an awesome summer intensive for writers to set goals and cheer each other on (not to mention be cheered on by other amazing writers!). You can find out more about it and join us, here.

HOW I DID ON LAST WEEK’S GOALS

So I pretty much failed on my writing goals from last week. I wrote a post on Saturday about how I’ve been struggling with writing recently. I feel editing and querying are a big part the problem, so I’ve decided to step away from that aspect of writing for a while.

On the plus side, I started drafting something new (that fantasy story I was talking about last week) and managed to write 6.5K!

I also took some much needed time for myself and went to go see Jurassic World (again). Not to mention I brought a PS Vita so have spent a lot of time playing video games this week :P

MY GOALS FOR THIS WEEK

  • Since I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself with writing at the moment, I’ve decided to keep it simple. I want to spend 1 hour a day with my draft this week, whether that be planning aspects or actually writing, whatever.
  • Try and finish LEGO JURASSIC WORLD so I can regain some of my focus haha.

ONE WORD/PHRASE THAT SUMS UP WHAT I WROTE

Freedom.

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE I FACE THIS WEEK

Accepting that sometimes it’s OK to take a step back, and that it doesn’t make me a failure.

SOMETHING I LOVE ABOUT MY WIP

Bioluminescence plays a role in it and that’s been fun to learn about.

How did you do this week?

Falling In Love Again

Once upon a time, I used to love writing.

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Before I decided to wander down the path towards publication, I used to write simply for the love of writing. For the love of crafting new worlds, listening to new characters whisper to me in my dreams, and cramming as much witter banter onto a page as possible. Once upon a time, I used to be able to draft a novel in a month. Sure those drafts were always awful, full of plot holes and typos and terrible character development, but those drafts were finished and I loved them because they were always the unaltered expression of what I originally thought my novel might be.

It’s been years since that happened.

When I started working on drafts of THE BEST IS YET TO COME and THE INVINCIBLE PENNY LANE I started thinking about trying to get published. Those stories felt right, and years down the line they still do, but in a much more complicated way. One I entered into the tricky world of edits, it felt like I became consumed with the idea of perfection, of making my manuscripts flawless.

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Slowly but surely I lost my love of writing.

For the past eighteen months, I have struggled to draft anything. I’ve found it increasingly difficult to immerse myself in an idea, to simply fall in love with my story. I mean, I still loved the ideas, the essence of the story, but I wasn’t in love with writing anymore. Writing had somehow become a chore, a second job. Which is not how I want to see writing right now, considering that I currently work 40 hours a week and travel another 20. Instead of being something I used to relax in the evening, it became something I dreaded but felt obliged to do. And that’s not right.

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So, after a really hard and stressful couple of weeks, a lot of thinking and a lot of chatting with my lovely writer friends Cole, Jessi, and Nickey, I’ve decided to take a step from some of my novels. PENNY isn’t quite ready to query yet, and I’m still waiting on feedback for THE BEST IS YET TO COME. And right now, my heart isn’t really in EuropeBook. As far as I see it, I have all the time in the world to perfect these novels and that will be a lot easier when I’m actually enjoying what I’m doing.

For now I want to focus on falling back in love with writing.

Saying that I started a new draft on Monday, which simply title THE FANTASY for now. It’s basically FINAL FANTASY mixed with MAD MAX and I’m actually enjoying it. In one week I’ve written 5K, which is something I’ve struggled to do in a long time. Sure, these words are one big rambling mess right now, but you know what, I don’t care. I’m really enjoying the freedom that this story is giving me right no. I’m working really hard to block out my pesky inner editor by blasting the FINAL FANTASY VII soundtrack and pushing forward with the aid of copious amounts of chocolate.

cloud battle gif

There’s a couple of pieces of advice I’ve been taking as well. The first comes from NaNoWriMo and it’s something I always struggle with: Don’t delete anything. *GASP* I know I know, but who knows what gem might be lurking in all that rambling? Keep everything in until the edits, when I know more about the story and what it’s really about. And then next piece of advice comes from the lovely JessiBlocking off the internet during writing time (which basically means coming off of Twitter and increasing my productivity by roughly 100%).

I’m hoping all these little things will add up to a draft I’m maddly in love with and will help remind me of why I ever started this crazy journey in the first place.

11 dancing

WiP #3 – Project Notebooks

WiP banner

Once I’ve settled on a project, I like to buy a specific notebook for it, that way I can keep all the information relating to that project in one place. Everything, and I mean everything, goes into that notebook. I usually include things like:

  • Initial ideas
  • Character sketches / profiles
  • Setting notes
  • Inspirational images
  • Synopsis / blurb
  • Research
  • Maps
  • Outlines / scene notes
  • Free writing / brainstorming
  • Dialogue snippets
  • More research
  • CP / editing notes

Most days, when I’m in the planning stage of writing, I’ll open my notebook to the next blank page, write the date in the top corner (I love keep track like that) and then just ramble about whatever has been on my mind that day. You’ll be amazed at what comes out of a good ramble.

I’m a big fan of Paper Thinks notebooks, which I get from Waterstones. They’re made of recycled leather and come in this amazing selection of rainbow colours (so pretty when they’re lined up on a shelf). They have thin line spacing as well, which I really like and I don’t see all that often when I buy nice notebooks. I like to add an elastic closure and some pretty embellishment to the cover and end papers, just to really personalise it.

My Paper Thinks notebook for The Best is Yet to Come!

My Paper Thinks notebook for The Best is Yet to Come!

But lately I’ve also been loving these kraft notebooks from Paperchase. They’re light enough that I can carry one or two around in my bag without even noticing, and they’re cheap so I can go crazy and buy loads. I currently have a stack tucked away in a draw, full of half plotted stories that are waiting to be written. One of my favourite things about these notebooks is just how easy they are to personalise. I love doodling on them with watercolour pencils and ink pens, really making them reflect the story that is hidden within them.

Notebook for EuropeBook!

Current notebook for EuropeBook!

The great thing about have a specific notebook for each project is that I don’t have to riffle through all of my old writing journals, just to find one scrap of information. Everything is in one place – a place of semi-organised chaos.

Do you keep individual notebooks for your projects & what sort of information do you put in them?

Playlist track of the week!

Ready, Set, WRITE! (Week 3)

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Happy Monday, lovelies!

It’s time for the second Ready, Set, WRITE! update. If you’re wondering what Ready, Set, WRITE! is, well it’s basically an awesome summer intensive for writers to set goals and cheer each other on (not to mention be cheered on by other amazing writers!). You can find out more about it and join us, here.

Sorry I haven’t gotten round to last weeks post yet, I don’t know where last week went. I’ll catch up soon, I promise.

HOW I DID ON LAST WEEK’S GOALS

Research 5 more literary agents: I only managed to research 2 literary agents this week.

Either print out and do the final read-through of The Best is Yet to Come, or work on that scary query letter: I finally drafted a query letter (it was awful) and sent it out to some lovely, kind writer friends. They sent me some awesome feedback, so I have more of a focus now.

Research  some more amazing places: I have done absolutely no research this week. Somehow this week just seemed to get away from me.

MY GOALS FOR THIS WEEK

  • Research some more literary agents and create a spreadsheet for the information I’ve gathered so far.
  • Work on that query letter, make it shine a little brighter.
  • Take some time for myself (in between working, commuting, and novel work, I often forget to do this).

A FAVOURITE LINE FROM MY STORY

I snatch up the postcard again, re-reading the words for the tenth time. Then I stand, searching for a gap in the postcard map that decorates the wall behind my bed. Every place, every snapshot, and every word. All right here. Los Angeles, Sydney, Miami, Dublin, Amsterdam, Adam’s been everywhere. – Chapter One, The Best Is Yet To Come

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE I FACE THIS WEEK

So this little thing happened this week!

Needless to say, I’ve been finding not only this but the whole E3 conference a bit distracting. The news of a Final Fantasy VII remake though is something I’ve wanted for a long time and I’m really excited about it. Not to mention it’s stirring up thoughts of the fantasy project I recently put to one side, which in my head is a mix between Final Fantasy and Mad Max. Maybe one day soon I’ll go back to it.

SOMETHING I LOVE ABOUT MY WIP

I have always been a sufferer of Wanderlust and it’s an aspect you might notice in a lot of my writing. I love the idea that there is a whole world of amazing places just waiting to be explored. So I love the fact that my writing takes me down those avenues and for now I get to live vicariously through my characters while they go on adventures.

How did you do this week?