Where Do I Start?…


HELLO!

Its been a while hasn’t it :)

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Will You Be Nanoing This Year?


Well, if it just happens to have escaped your notice, NaNoWriMo 2013 starts this Friday!

Again this year I’ll be ML’ing and attempting to take part…

But firstly, some apologies, and an announcement…

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Insecure Writers Support Group October 2013


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Huge thanks as ever to the wonderful Alex J Cavanaugh for hosting the group :) I will try to get round as many of you as I can today.

Another month has absolutely flown by, but I don’t mind, I love autumn, when I can wrap up warm and drink endless amounts of hot chocolate. It also signifies the run up to Nanowrimo, and I’m excited this year because (1) I’ll be using Scrivener to write the whole thing and (2) I think I’m really going to enjoy writing this one :)

So what am I insecure about this month?

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Oh Scrivener…Where Have You Been All My Life?


Well, I am soooo excited! Now that I’ve just completed week 2 of the Scriveners course I feel confident enough to actually use it. So I’ve set up a “Blog” project and for the last few days I’ve been compiling posts using it :)

This week I discovered that…

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Still Struggling With Scrivener?


I’ve decided to give myself a little break. I’ve bought a new diary type thing (any excuse to buy a new notebook) and the writing schedule starts “proppa” on Monday 2nd September…and in the meantime…..

If, like me, you’ve downloaded Scrivener but haven’t touched it (it just looks so overwhelming!) then this course could be just what you need.

Gwen Hernandez (author of Scrivener for Dummies ) is running the online course that starts in September, and it really is a reasonable amount of dosh to join :)

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I’m very tempted to sign up (I really need to get to grips with it before Nano).

Do you use Scrivener? Have you downloaded it but not had a fiddle yet?

Pleased as Punch!


Well, come on, I am the Queen of Cliche ;)

Seriously though, I am sooo pleased! :) Why? Because a friend and fellow writer has just released his debut novel earlier this week! *grins*

I’ve known Tony for a couple of years now (we initially met through Nano) so I’ve been hearing about this story from its first draft and I’m so thrilled to finally see it in “print” :) It’s been really interesting hearing Tonys adventures in “indie” publishing first hand at our writing meets, so I thought you guys might like to hear what he has to say… let me introduce Author (YAY’S!) Tony Benson…

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What made you decide to be a writer?
First off, thank you Vikki, for having me here on your blog. I’ve always kept journals and written stories. During my career as an engineer, strangely enough, much of my work involved writing of one kind or another. I’ve written more technical documents than I could ever count, but very little was ever published for general distribution, since it’s generally written for use by customers.
When I moved on from corporate life I found myself undertaking more ambitious creative writing projects. I started with a complete non-fiction manuscript, which will probably never see the light of day, then I went on to write more fiction. That was when I began to consider publication.
I enjoy the creative process, and to see my own work, complete and published, is exhilarating.

What genre do you write?
An Accident of Birth is dystopia. I also have manuscripts at various stages of completion for crime, science fiction and fantasy. I’m currently working on a crime novel, which will be my next release.

What inspires you?
I find inspiration easily. Sometimes perhaps too easily. I’ll be inspired by a news-item, an overheard conversion or some random idea that comes into my head. Almost anything can trigger that Aha! moment. I always carry a notebook, and when an idea hits me I write it down, otherwise I’ve moved on to something else and the idea is lost.
Also I read widely from pretty much all genres, and that keeps the imagination ticking over nicely.

Tell us about your début novel An Accident Of Birth
An Accident of Birth is a speculative story which confronts the question What would society be like if most people were not fertile?
It portrays a dystopian, polluted society in which fertility is rare, and being fertile is dangerous. The government holds twenty-year-old Francesca captive, forcing her to breed children for the infertile masses. Her boyfriend Dominic has failed to rescue her in four long years. By hiring Baron Drake to spring her, Dominic learns nobody is more dangerous. The handsome, charming, and fertile baron vies to win Francesca’s heart, and he’ll stop at nothing – not even mass murder – to expand his criminal empire.

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What made you decide to go down the “indie” route?
Indie can mean two different things. It either refers to one of the small press publishers, or it refers to an author publishing their own work. I chose the latter path.
When I had a completed manuscript, and my critique partners and beta readers had all made their contributions, it was time to publish. I reached this point at an interesting time in publishing. Indie publishing was really picking up, and there was a lot of rhetoric in the press about how bad that was and how good it was.
I found myself torn. On one hand the kudos of having my manuscript accepted by an agent and a publisher felt like a worthy goal. On the other, the case for self publishing was very compelling. I started down the road of seeking an agent, but soon I realised that I was wasting valuable time in an endeavour which would lead me to sign away the rights to my own work. In the end, I realised that my main reason for wanting to go down the traditional publishing route was to seek validation. It’s just not a good enough reason.

Any advice for anyone considering going “indie”?
Where to begin? Bear in mind that only a few days ago I published my first novel, so I’m not an old industry pro, or a well practised professional. There are, however, some things I have found to be crucial.
The big thing to remember with indie publishing is that publishing is a profession, and anyone who’s not willing to become a professional should be shy of indie publishing.
First things first, though. Like they all say, the whole thing will fail if you don’t write a great story. That’s the core to any publishing success. Once you’ve written that great story and been through it with all your critique partners and beta readers and worked on their comments, you’ve got a draft manuscript. You’re now ready to put on your publisher’s hat.
It’s crucial to have the manuscript professionally edited. Professionally produced cover art and formatting are also a must. With that done you’ll need a great cover blurb which makes people want to read your book.
The rest is logistics, promotion and marketing. The logistics are time consuming and require plenty of thought. Promotion and marketing is your job. Whether you’re indie publishing or traditionally published you’ll need to spend time and thought on marketing. It’s not easy, and you’ll constantly need to find creative new ways to market your work. The worst thing you can do is keep asking people to buy your book.
Indie publishing cannot be done without cost. Someone has to pay for editing, cover art, formatting and all the other sundry costs. An author who publishes solo bears the whole cost themselves and hopes to make it back in sales. There are, however, other creative ways to fund the project such as working with a small press publisher, crowd funding or working with one of the companies which are springing up with new business models specifically aimed at indie publishers.
There’s never been a better time to choose the indie route.

Tony can be found through his website, blog and author page on Facebook and if you’d like to download An Accident of Birth, it’s available through Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk I’ve downloaded it and started it last night :)

Ahhhh, yeah, marketing *gulps* I don’t know about you but if I go down this route I think that’s what I’m going to find most difficult, I wouldn’t know where to start! Lol… Sooooo, anyone willing to share some marketing tips? ;)

CONGRATULATIONS Tony! When you’re a HUGE success I can brag and say I had many a writing session with you :)

Book Launch – Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes


A bonus post for you this week because I just had to tell you what I was up to last night!

Me, The Hubster and our daughter attended the book launch for friend, my Co Nano ML and talented writer Elizabeth Haynes 3rd book, Human Remains.

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Elizabeth is a huge inspiration to all aspiring authors, having used Nanowrimo to kick start her writing career.

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It was lovely to see so many of the Kent Wrimo’s at the launch party and of course, hubby insisted that he had to have his own copy of the book!

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I’m looking forward to the read if Keith B Walters review is anything to go by! (Lovely to meet you last night Keith!).

So this morning I’m feeling slightly worse for wear (too much Champagne!) so if you could all keep it down today it would be much appreciated ;) I’m off out in a sec for a writing session with a fellow Wrimo….which begs a question that came up last night….. Can you write while you’re drunk?

Do you write whilst you’re under the influence? Can you? Hemingway said “Write drunk; edit sober.” And look at how successful he was ;) I’ll let you know if writing with a hangover is a good or bad thing later lol

After NaNoWriMo – Editing Part 2


Part 2 of the guest post by Bridget Whelan which I’ll be making much use of this month ;)

After NaNoWriMo
Three bite-size guides to editing and revising your NaNoWriMo novel.

PART Two

Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it – Collette

Five ways of editing that first rough draft

1) Cut and cut again. Be brutal. You thought you’d written 50,000 words of your NaNoWriMo novel? The harsh truth is that you probably need to ditch 20,000 of those words. You’ve got a copy of the original so you can chuck everything away knowing you have the freedom to change your mind. In fact, keep a copy of every major revision. It gives you confidence knowing that nothing is lost, and that every major change can be undone. The reality is that once paragraphs, pages and chapters have been deleted you’ll wonder how they ever had a home in your manuscript.

2) Remember that adjectives don’t get lonely: they do not have to travel around in pairs – the kind and pleasant man; the warm, dry day. Every time you see two together ask yourself which one you really, really need. Or if you need any.

3) Take a long, hard look at any descriptive passages, especially the ones you like the best. Samuel Johnson said that if he you ever come across a sentence he had written that struck him as being particularly elegant and finely crafted then he knew he had to cut it. It was probably written for his own enjoyment rather than because it helped the reader to understand what was going on.

4) Have you started in the right place? Classic advice is to start a story in MEDIAS RES – in the middle – in other words dive in. Have you chosen to start your NaNoWriMo novel a long time before the big event occurs? Why? If the answer is because it’s a good introduction or it sets the stage, then cut. Sometimes we write a beginning more for ourselves than the reader. We are working our way into the story, getting a feel for the characters and their take on the world. You might need that introduction to get you started, the reader doesn’t. So, write it if it helps you to launch a story and cut it out at the editing stage – which is now.

4) Show don’t tell is the command burnt into the heart of every creative writing student, but sometimes it’s ok to tell. The reader can’t live through every moment. Use dialogue to dramatise the big scenes, or the moments where important elements of character are revealed. It is not for the ordinary do-you-want-a-cup-of-tea exchanges (or boring small talk at parties unless it propels the narrative in some way.)
5) Don’t introduce all the characters at once. Do it one at a time with a little physical description or back story so we can remember them. (For example: Cara tucked a strand of her sand coloured behind her ear and swore softly, her previous career as an advertising writer meant she knew how to make words work for her.) Ask yourself if you have to give a name to all the minor characters. Remember that a name may be the least interesting thing about them. They could appear as their job or the function they carry out in the story. For example: the teacher said…. the neighbour smiled…

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Courtesy of Carlos Porto freedigitalphotos

Coming up in PART THREE six tips that will help you get your NaNoWriMo novel ready for a reader. But if you want to read that post, you’ll have to pop over to Bridget’s blog tomorrow ;)

Please leave a comment for Bridget with your thoughts and opinions, or pop over to Bridget’s Blog to say Hi

After NaNoWrimo – Editing Part 1


So how we all feeling this morning? Any Wrimo’s take it to the wire last night? We had one lady on the Kent FaceBook group who finally hit the 50k at just before 11.30pm (UK time). I couldn’t go to bed before she’d finished and validated.

So that’s it, my official ML duties are over! Awwwww, it’s been fun, but now this is where the real work starts. We have our 50,000 words, so now what? The theme this month on the old blog will be editing, and to start us off, a guest post by Bridget Whelan who teaches Creative Writing. I think this will be very handy ;)

After NaNoWriMo
Three bite-size guides to editing and revising your NaNoWriMo novel.

PART ONE

Write drunk, edit sober – Ernest Hemingway

The relief is wonderful. Nanowrimo is over, done and dusted for another year. You have so much freedom and so much time to do other things. Some of you may even have a NanNoWriMo certificate to prove you took the challenge and won and – as long as you didn’t write your name over and over again – you should be proud of yourself. Very proud.
​Of course, some of us didn’t mange 50,000 words, but as long as you have more words written now than you did on November 1st you’ve made an important step in your development as a writer. And you know that yourself until a small steely voice sounds in your head and says, it’s all rubbish. And the bits that aren’t rubbish have been done before.
​That’s the voice that stops you writing. That’s the voice that NaNoWriMo silences with a frenzy of activity. That’s the voice of an editor. It’s a mean-spirited companion, dismissive of hard work and effort. It won’t offer any rewards for sticking with it, reaching goals and staying up late. All it cares about is what’s on the page and when you come to look at what you’ve written during NaNoWriMo, that’s all you should be care about too. Even when it means blood on the floor.

Three things to do before you pick up a red pen or press delete

1) Rest and Recover. You wrote in a fever. You need the story to settle in your mind and you also need to create some distance if you’re going to listen to that editor’s voice. How long? At least two weeks.
2) Read. Anything except your NaNoWriMo novel. Read poetry for the language. Read cheap trashy novels you hate to learn what not to do. Read cheap trashy novels you love to learn how they captured you. Read action novels for pace and crime fiction for suspense. Read horror and speculative fiction for imagination and fairy tales for permission to push the boundaries (A brother and sister abandoned by their parents and enslaved by a female cannibal? Did you go as wild during NaNoWriMo as Hansel and Gretel?)
3) Watch the video of Kurt Vonnegut describing how to plot a best seller. It will have you laughing and thinking.

Four things to do when you read your NaNoWriMo novel again

1) Breath deeply. Dive in. If you can, try to read all the way through in one sitting. Ignore your emotions: horror, embarrassment, mild pleasure, surprise. Read with a pen in your hand and summarise every chapter (or five thousands words if it isn’t broken down into chapters yet). No one will see these notes so they can be as clunky as you like. Stick to about 100 words for each summary – these are working notes and shouldn’t take up too much of your writing time
2) Imagine you are being interviewed on radio. How would you describe your main character? What does your main character want? No waffle: be specific. The radio audience won’t like vague phrases about rites of passage or someone finding themselves.
3) Even if you have written The End in big bold letters and drawn a line underneath it, consider possible alternative ways of resolving the issues in your NaNoWriMo novel.
4) Ask yourself if you want to spend a lot of time living with this story and the people who inhabit it. Vikki described herself as being haunted by the story she was trying to tell in first Nanowrimo writing. That’s a very good place for a writer to be.

Coming up in PART TWO (tomorrow) five ways of editing that first rough draft.

A great article Bridget, I will definitely be following your advice :)

Please leave a comment for Bridget with your thoughts and opinions, or pop over to Bridget’s Blog to say Hi

NaNoWriMo – The Last Day


Today is the last day of Nano (so should that be YAY or SOB ? lol) So if you haven’t hit the 50,000 words by now you have approximately 22 hours (in the UK from the time this post went live) to pull your finger out and write!

It’s been a funny old month for me. Full of highs and lows. My first year as an official ML has been great fun. Elizabeth asked me a couple of days ago if I’d do it again next year, of course I would! :)

I’ve met a few Wrimo’s I didn’t know before who have now become FaceBook friends and learnt that I can write 9,000 words in a day. I went on a writing retreat (which was fantastic) and discovered that Mills & Boon books are much harder to write than you think they’ll be. I also learnt that my netbook cannot be trusted and have decided that he will retire from service before next year ;)

So what’s next? What do we now do with all those words? You have to edit *shudders* ;)

The lovely Bridget Whelan who teaches Creative Writing, has written a series of 3 blog posts for me, all about editing. See me, I never really know where to start when it comes to editing, so I’m hoping Bridget can sort me out. You’ll find part 1 and part 2 here over the next couple of days and then part 3 will be posted to Bridget’s blog, but I’ll give you the link ;)

So all that remains is for me to say CONGRATULATIONS! it doesn’t matter if you only wrote 10 words or 75,000 (yes, I do know someone who wrote that much and she has a baby and toddler!). Everyone who takes part in Nano and wrote something is a winner as far as I’m concerned.

So now it’s time to Party!

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Courtesy of Simon Howden freedigitalphotos.net

Do try to get to a TGIO Party if you can. We have ours tomorrow, I’m looking forward to it :)

Me? I finished up with just over 55,000 words which is more than 2011 but less than 2010…..and the less said about those 65,000 words the better ;)