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.

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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.

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WiP #3 – Project Notebooks

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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?

WiP #2 – Inspiration Boards

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I’m an incredibly visual person, especially when it comes to research, so one of my favourite things to do when I’m working on a novel is to set up an inspiration board. Before the wonders of Pintrest and WeHeartIt, I used to find images on the internet and save them to a specific folder on my computer. I still do this, but now Pintrest and WeHeartIt make creating an inspiration board so much easier.

While I know a lot of writers swear by Pintrest, I prefer to use WeHeartIt. I don’t know why, I think the layout is cleaner and I just never really gelled with Pintrest. Anyway. Generally, when I start planning a novel, I create a blank collection  and then spend hours upon hours searching for images that will pull me into the world of my story.

For EuropeBook! the majority of my images are setting based (of course) because I still haven’t found the perfect character inspiration yet. Other collections though, are very characters based – such as ‘Still’ (my NaNo novel from last November) that collection’s full of girls with pink hair and boys with an undercut.

The thing I love about inspiration boards is that they help me get into the right frame of mind for my story. Most of the time, when I’m sitting down to write, I’ll have my collection open in the background so I can peak at it when I get stuck. They’re great for helping craft descriptions and making the world feel real. Sometimes the discovery of a spectacular image can take my story in a direction I’d never even thought of.

Head over to my WeHeartIt page, if you want to see more of my inspiration for EuropeBook!

 Do you like to create inspiration boards? If so, leave me some links in the comments – I’d love to see them!

Playlist track of the week!

Ready, Set, WRITE! (Week 2)

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Happy Monday, lovelies!

It’s time for the first Ready, Set, WRITE! update (how is it the 14th June already?!). 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

Research 5 literary agents: I managed to research 6 literary agents this week, 2 of which I’m really excited about.

Edit 2 chapters of The Best is Yet to Come: I edited 4 chapters of The Best is Yet to Come and finished another round of edits on the manuscript.

Work on my query letter and synopsis: I didn’t manage to get any work done on either the query letter or synopsis :(

Research: Not only did I do research on Paris (In other news, my Wanderlust seriously played up this week) but I worked out some major points of my character arcs and plotted the first three chapters on my new project.

MY GOALS FOR THIS WEEK

  • Research 5 more literary agents
  • Either print out and do the final read-through of The Best is Yet to Come, or work on that scary query letter
  • Research  some more amazing places, like: the French Rivera, Florence and Rome.

A FAVOURITE LINE FROM MY STORY

Whenever I thought about Adam, I liked to think he was out there laughing. I throw back my head and let out a booming laugh of my own, feeling like a kid again. – Chapter Six, The Best is Yet to Come

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE I FACE THIS WEEK

Exhaustion. Commuting to and from work everyday is finally taking it’s tole on me. I felt tired all the time, so when I came home from work I didn’t want to do anything, and I didn’t do anything. I made up for it over the weekend though, working my butt off to try and achieve all my goals. Hopefully I can spread it out a bit more this week.

SOMETHING I LOVE ABOUT MY WIP

Would it be ridiculous to say I love that it exists? When I started the first draft of The Best is Yet to Come (when it was still known as The Moment to Live For) I honestly didn’t think I would make it through. It was my first attempt at a contemporary novel and the amount of times I told myself that I couldn’t do it was ridiculous. But I finished (mainly thanks to my awesome CPs). I’ve spent years crafting this story, turning it into the novel it is now. The novel I love so much. And I do, I love it.

How did you do this week?

WiP #1 – The Shiny New Idea

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Ah, the shiny new idea, the first spark, the birth of a novel. For me, that first spark, is one of the most exciting and irritating parts of writing. It’s exciting because that shiny new idea holds so much potential, it holds every possible eventuality of the novel inside of it. It’s before I’ve had time to panic, to question, or to become riddled with self-doubt. But it’s also irritating because shiny new idea always tend to crop up when I’m working on other things, and they are always, ALWAYS, distracting.

For EuropeBook! the idea popped into my head the middle of last year – when I was supposed to be working on the last major re-write of The Best is Yet to Come. Now I say it popped into my head, but honestly I’ve always wanted to write a Europe road trip book, so I think the idea has been lingering in the back of my mind for a while, just waiting for a spark.

Sparks can take on all forms, sometimes it’s a character, other times it’s a setting, and sometimes it’s a plot point (or if you’re lucky, a whole plot). For EuropeBook! it was the first line.

Europe was always the plan.

It was simple, it was direct, and it was exciting. Europe is so big and grand, I knew that this story could go anywhere.

When a shiny new idea strikes, the first thing I like to do is reach for my writers journal. I scrawl down everything about that story, just to get it out of my head, and it kind of ends up looking like my brain exploded all over the page. I love using my writers journal for putting all these idea in one place. I don’t always go buy a specific project notebook (more about those later) immediately when I get a shiny new idea. I like to give the story a chance to settle, see if it’s going to run away or burrow under my skin. If it burrows under my skin and I’m still thinking about in a month or two later, then I’ll buy a specific project notebook. Until then, everything goes into the writers journal.

A note from my writers journal the day EuropeBook! appeared in my head (May 27th 2014!)

When the first line of EuropeBook! popped into my head, I knew it wasn’t going to leave me alone. And I was right. Over a year later and I’m still thinking about it constantly.

What do you do when you get a shiny new idea?

Playlist track of the week!