Saturday, 27 November 2010

Official NaNo Winner

Current word count 78362. Not sure if I'll finish the book in November, but hopefully soon.

Saturday, 20 November 2010


Word count is now 50210 - so officially I have won NaNo :-) Of course I am happy about that. 

Overall, I am behind my goal. I should have really finished the whole draft by now, but you know things happened, and I haven't been in very obsessive mood, so on some days it's been hard to get into writing a lot. However, I found that forcing the word count isn't very productive, so I gave myself permission to relax a little. 

I am still hoping to complete the whole draft by end of November, so we shall see how it goes. 

How is your NaNo going? And if you are not doing NaNo, how are your projects going? 

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Why you should always buy a good quality dining table?

Yes, this is actually my dining table. "Food for thought" is not a cliché for anyone brave enough to be a guest in my house!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Your Writing Journey: Guest Post - Rhaina Randell

What do you write?
Primarily I write in three genres, romance, horror and what I describe as gritty literary fiction. Yes, I’m a bit random like that. I find it keep the creation juices flowing and while some find it hard switching from one WIP to another I find it refreshing. I like to keep busy. 

How long have you been writing?
I’ve wrote on and off since around the age of ten. I’ve had a love of books  every since I learned to read. Back then, the small town library was a place of wonderment for me. I remember sitting there at a table in awe looking at the shelves piled high with books, and the smell… Well you know how that is.

I started to get back to it in 2006. I finished a novel and sent it out. It was rejected and I was shocked. After all it was a great novel! In retrospect it wasn’t and at that moment I was determined to work hard to perfect the craft.

What got you started?
Honestly, it was the hopes of publication along with all  the crazy stories and characters that floated around inside my head, begging to get out. I feel I have a unique outlook and perspective on life. I want to share that with others and writing is the perfect outlet.

A Few important lessons you have learned along the way
I think every writer starting out should learn the craft. It isn’t as easy as you may think. There is a lot more too writing then just sitting at a keyboard and plonking away. Also, determine the goals you have set forth for yourself. If it’s publication then you will also have to learn about the industry. It really is a business.

What priority writing is in your life at the moment?
It’s not my first priority but it’s way up there. Of course I still have to work a day job to pay the bills and live. Also, my fiancé, family and friends play a huge role in my like. I also indulge my creative side with a few other hobbies.

Is it a hobby, career, potential career? Right now writing for me is definitely a potential career. I just sold my first novella this month, a historical romance set in the Victorian era. I’m working on three other WIP’s at I hope to seek an agent when I get to the point of submitting my literary novel. One never knows the future, and I will take it as it comes.

Can you see yourself writing for the rest of your life, regardless of financial / popular success?
Yes, most definitely. Even if I enjoy moderate success in my career, that would make me happy.
Most of dream of becoming ‘the next best thing’, but the fact is, it may never happen. Writing is a very competitive business. Many get lost along the way. You have to learn to separate the dreams from the reality.

Anything else you may want to add:
My first release, A Sordid Situation will come out in November 2010. The actual release date hasn’t been announced yet. You will also note in the link coming up that I do use a pen name.
If interested you may purchase it direct from the publisher at . You will also find the novella for sale at Amazon Kindle and every other online retailer of e romance.

It’s been wonderful answering these questions and has given me time to reflect, I thank you for the opportunity Dolly.

Rhaina Randell

Sunday, 7 November 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 - End of the First Week

I can't believe it's been only a week. Feels like ages. So at the end of this week, word count is 25323. 

I know it's very good, but it's still lower than what I had planned, because frankly the working week has been completely rubbish in terms of writing, because on most days I was too tired to manage much. This weekend wasn't very high in terms of word count either because I spent all day Saturday at BristolCon (which was different kind of productive, and a post about that soon), and today just felt bit blah, so didn't do 10K I had planned. 

However, now that little moan is over, I am actually quite happy with 25323. And determined to make the second week more productive. 

Outline is certainly has been extremely useful, though it doesn't mean I rigidly follow it. I've already cut out two scenes from outline, and changed sequence of few events, however even then outline helps considerably, because when I decide to change something, I can go through rest of the outline and make sure that everything else will still make sense despite that change. 

Again, first person POV for this novel is definitely the right way to go. MCs voice comes out much more clearly. I am aware that during revisions, I will certainly need to add more setting details, but that's how I write, so I have given up on doing otherwise now. But no doubt there will be lots of places to cut words, so overall things should balance out. 

Still hoping to attend at least one write-in this year, if only to make my local NaNo group, which I have been told is very friendly. 

So that's my progress for first week of NaNoWriMo. How are things going for you?

Friday, 5 November 2010

Your Writing Journey: Guest Post - Heidi Sutherlin

What do you write?

I write Romantic Suspense, and Paranormal Romance. I'm also a hack for hire and write many an internet article that is probably holding up the fabric of the web as we speak. I doubt anyone is really reading my fascinating rundown of Husqvarna chainsaws, but it's out there, being dependable. 

How long have you been writing?

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. It's always been one of those things that has come easy to me. So easy, that for a long time I took it for granted. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I was goaded into settling down to write seriously by the simple and age old question, "Why not?" My mom has been telling me all along that I should write books, but like most people, I didn't take her advice until I'd exhausted my excuses. I'm a veracious reader and have always felt the characters and the stories swimming about in my mind, but never thought to let them wander around on their own. I suppose, it was either write them down or explode. An easy decision when you think about it. 

What got you started?

Honestly, I may not have started when I did if it wasn't for my sister in law. She has written three novels while raising her two children. My dad and I had one of those lazy conversations that people do during the commercial breaks. I think it went something like this...

"I could write a book."

"Why don't you?"


That, my friends, was my illustrious beginning. Of course, my mom was ecstatic and after the initial eye roll, which all mothers have mastered in direct relation to the difficulty that their children have in absorbing their particular brand of wisdom, she became my first beta. 

A Few important lessons you have learned along the way?

1. You are not an island. 
Write on your island. Dream, and plot, and scheme on your island, but when the time comes, leave it and gain the perspective that only interaction with other writers, readers and editors can give you. Writers cannot exist in a vacuum. While that glorious silence is an important part of the process, it shouldn't be the only part you experience. 

2. Be careful who you allow behind the curtain.
It's important to have beta readers and input and editors (oh my!), but it is also important to be selective about who you allow to read your work and infiltrate that inner circle. It's never comfortable to think the worst of people, but unfortunately, not everyone is out there to make you a success. While, luckily, I haven't experienced this first hand, being lucky in my fantastic inner circle, I know that there are some who may not have had such luck as mine.

3. Edit, edit, then edit some more.
I've come to realize that a polished manuscript is a beautiful one. We've all written the greatest story on Earth, but if you don't make it shine, no one will notice through the typos and awkward sentences, funky transitions and plot holes. Spend the time to make your work flawless, then ship it off to an editor. Think about your own reading habits. Have you ever read a book that felt awkward, had annoying typos or uncomfortable scenes? Chances are you avoided that author in the future. 

4. Craft what you would read yourself. 
Write what you know. Love what you write. It's been said a billion times. Duh.

5. Stay flexible.
This was a tough one to learn for me. I was a "write one and ONLY one novel at a time" kind of gal. To me, working on more than one wasn't productive, it was a failure to complete any of them. I've since realized that once you open the gate, things are going to come through in their own time and at their own pace. While we have to take the reins, it's important to let those stories, outlines and characters out. Again, it's that possible explosion issue. It happens to me sometimes. (There's a Snickers bar in it for anyone who can tell me what that is a reference to.)

What priority writing is in your life at the moment?

Right now, I'm starting my business and have been devoting most of my time to that. However, I am in the middle of editing my first novel which will be self-published hopefully in November. I have two that are started, and one outlined and ready for NaNo. Unfortunately, I understand that right now my focus needs to be my business, but I'm slowly seeing more time coming free for new words. Luckily, my characters are still whirling about behind my eyeballs and we get along pretty well for now. It's a bit cramped in my brain, but hopefully in the next month or so, we can get them a place of their own. 

Is it a hobby, career, potential career?

For me, it's just another aspect of my career. It's always been that. I'm hoping that one day, I can put the other sides of my business to rest and focus on writing. I know that I will always need the variety that I have now, I but I'm looking forward to having a little more choice in how I split my time between all of the pieces. 

Can you see yourself writing for the rest of your life, regardless of financial / popular success?

Absolutely. No doubt. It really comes down to exploding. I don't think I really have a choice in the matter. 

Anything else you may want to add:

Just, thanks for having me. I love these blog series that open up the curtain just a bit, so we can catch a glimpse of how our fellow writers work. Many of us have blogs (erm, sometimes we even post, er, sporadically) and we can catch glimpses there, but these posts really bring writers together. Thank you for taking on this series. 

Just one more thing, and it's a big one. Remember that you like to write. It may make you furious, despondent, elated, dejected, confounded, confused, frantic, and often ridiculously distracted but at the end of the day you write because you have to, because it is a part of who you are. I would even go so far as to say for ninety nice percent of us that it is often the very best part of us, too. The next time you contemplate throwing your computer, laptop, kindle or legal pad out the window, remember that you like to write. It's what you do for fun...twisted, but true.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 - Update on 1st Day

I am just starting my second day of NaNoWriMo. It's my last day off, so determined to make the best of it, but whether or not I make it to another 10K remains to be seen.

Yesterday, I managed to do 10004 words precisely by 11:58 pm, so that was close :P 

Here are a few things I have noticed so far:
  1. Still love NaNo
  2. First person was definitely the right choice for this novel. I like the voice much better.
  3. 10K in a day is A LOT if you have to think. When I am writing scenes where I know exactly what has to happen, it's easy. Words flow, and I can do at least 1000 words in 30 minutes. But when I have to stop and think, decide what might make it better, or consider word choices, or in my case, also consider the outline, it takes longer. Then, 10K feels a lot, because I am sitting at my computer for about 10 hours a day.
  4. Another thing I have to do is make sure that anything good that I liked from the previous version is included in this one. Unfortunately, due to the nature of complete POV change and all the scenes places, it's a nightmare, so I have decided not to worry about it for this draft, and go through it during revision, otherwise I would end up spending half-a-day just trying to read the old draft, which would not be following NaNo spirit. So more revisions ahead.
  5. One of my 10K day (next Saturday) is gone, because I've realised I am attending my first ever Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. We have it local in Bristol. It's only the second year, so it's affordable and easy to get to, but there are some exciting people coming, including Joe Abercrombie, so looking forward to that. But losing that Saturday means I am less confident of finishing my 90K by 15th. So I'll have to see if I can squeeze more words into week days.
  6. But, I still love NaNoWriMo, and achieving 10K has been a new success for me, since my previous highest about about 7 or 8K. 
How are you folks getting on with your NaNoWriMo projects, or your writing projects, or with other goals?