When you need to write but…

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Image credit Writers Write Creative Blog

I’ve been editing that much recently that I need a break, I need to write. My characters are talking and I need to get it down.

FYI if someone has invented a machine that will transcribe my thoughts without my having to talk or type, I’m totally down to buy that!

Ok, so I have three main manuscripts on the go, all for which are actively being planned out, scenes developed and things actively happening.

Catch is:

One makes me cry, ALOT. One gave me nightmares. And the final one hit a snag where it reached what has turned out to be a sex scene, something I don’t write. All rather awkward. So now I’ve spent the last few days re-reading what I’ve written but not able to move forward. *Insert face palm*

Become a writer they said, it will be fun they said…

Oh and the one I started to avoid all that, the main plot line I was going to use wasn’t going to work, it was too similar to something else I had worked on and it now isn’t even in a genre I write. So, that worked well…

This people is my punishment for reducing my caffeine. Guess who’s upping their dosage tomorrow.

Bec

 

 

It’s all in my head…

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Image Credit The Write Practice

School holidays are happening here, which is great. I love having the kids home and given the recent weather and storm front that went through it was all good timing. Two days without power, no phone line for a week, loss of mobile and data coverage it was a bit of a techno nuts nightmare. Our small town got hit with a small tornado, a couple of streets from my house. It removed some roofs, ripped up some trees and fences and worst yet, flattened our netball club rooms. Thankfully no one was hurt and that the netball club was already in the process of building a new club room so providing the damage to that wasn’t too great it won’t play havoc on next year’s season.  My own home did extremely well, we had no damage.

Bar a cricket ball through the side of the house two days prior…thank you Mister 11, it was greatly appreciated. But still it’s not the worst thing that could have happened and we managed to put up a temporary patch the day before the rain hit.

All this has obviously affected my ability to write and edit. It has not, however, stopped my mind from going into overdrive and plotting more story lines. I have actually hit the point where I want to turn it off. Just for a little bit so I can focus on what I am currently doing or should be doing.

The other night resulted in me “putting out the call” to my military advisor to check a couple of things for a new idea I’m toying with, which then lead to him agreeing and adding stuff, which lead to me going OMG but what if… and poor hubby shaking his head.

Now I have to decide if I am going to continue to use it towards my original sci-fi/fantasy storyline or create two completely different story lines: one sci-fi/fantasy, one dystopian.

Decisions, decisions…

Then there is the matter of Compliant. My original dystopian novel. I did this stupid thing and trialled the first two chapters in a different perspective. I was bored. Anyway, it turned out so much better than the original and I rewrote the entire thing. Problem is, it’s already in submission. I am now debating on whether to email the publisher and beg for them to remove the original and replace it with the new one. I know it’s a long shot but you never know.

So while battling those two issues, I am drafting the main plot ideas for parts two and three of Binary, re-writing Battle for Terra, continuing with Battle for Terra (Book seven is under construction. I keep crying so it’s being delayed), plotting the new spin off (cos well I’m that much of a glutton for punishment! But it’s good, really good!), I have two new storylines for Compliant I am waiting to write, Rise of the Dragons has another two parts waiting to be written; along with the most epic battle scene. I have another part or more to write for Solomon’s Secret and another seven storylines I’m fiddling with all various genres.

My issue is focusing on one, I will start and then my mind jumps to another manuscript and suddenly I need to write that down, but then back to the other because I needed to finish that.

The mind of a writer is a busy thing. Worse when your characters all want a say, they all have a story to tell and they all demand attention. NaNoWriMo is coming up and last year I did over 135,000 words during the month of November. This year, I am away at my sons SAPSASA for a week so it will cut into my time and with how scattered my brain is, I am not sure I will even crack the 50,000. Here’s hoping it all settles and I can get my mojo on.

I have tried stepping back from the keyboard, but that let more thoughts in. I think I am going to need to force myself to pick one and finish it.

How do other writer’s focus? What do you do when your mind is busier than your fingers?

Bec

Who said that…

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Image Credit to Oprah website.

I got feedback for Battle for Terra, that suggested changing perspective. Which was fine, in fact the feedback fit with my own thoughts, but I kept the entire series as first person because one of my Beta readers thought it was better as it allowed her to be in the book.

This lead to a rewrite of the first book. And while I’m waiting a few days to read through it again, I thought that I might go through another one of my manuscripts, Compliant. The book was first person and I thought I’d give the first chapter a go at third person (Yes, this is how I spend my bored, can’t think time). Well, it kinda worked really well and I am half way through rewriting it. It also lead to me mapping out the central plots for books two and three. And it put the book I am working on aside for a bit longer.

I have written about different perspectives before (over here). When I first started writing, everything was first person. I have since discovered the romance of words that can come with third person. The way that it can flow and ebb through a story can almost be like the words and the scene it’s setting dancing around a page. It can really change the way something is written.

What’s your favourite perspective? Have you ever rewritten something, changing the point of view? Did it improve it?

Bec
xx

 

 

 

Story of my life… Here’s a writing comp…

I’ve been sick with the flu for the last month, and I kid you not I am done! Seriously how long can it last? Fingers crossed it’s on the way out.

Anyway, I haven’t been up for writing much. I can barely handle looking at a screen for more than a couple of hours without a headache. As a result, I haven’t been able to finish a story. They all start great and then it’s all down hill from there. So I took to editing my old manuscripts.

Does anyone else ever read over their work and go…”Seriously, Word, what’s up with that?” Why is there double words like the the, or words missing that you could have sworn were there last time? I am beginning to feel like I’m either going crazy or Microsoft Word has a mind all of its own.

Anyhow…

The Ampersand Prize with Hardie Grant opens Thursday, you can find it HERE on their website or through Twitter.  Or through the post I posted earlier about it.  It opens September 1st, closes September 16th.

I am thinking of submitting one of two manuscripts. I just can’t decide which one. Fingers crossed a couple more coffees will help with that or I may spent the next two weeks contemplating and miss out. Given my current mind set, that is most likely.

I did consider submitting a story to a publishing house but panicked and reconsidered, because I didn’t know if it was the right one. I even considered offering them access to my cloud drive and telling them to enjoy themselves. But I get the feeling it may not lead to a publishing contract. One can dream. With 10 completed manuscripts and eight started something might interest someone. Or not.

If you are looking at submitting to the Ampersand Prize, do it. There’s no harm in it and it’s a great way to get your name out there, have someone read your work and who knows you may be lucky enough to have it published. My fingers are crossed for you.

And now for a detailed description of my day…

Image Credits to The Funny Beaver 

Bec
xx

Ampersand Prize

Images borrowed from Hardie Grant Publishing site.

So this came up in my Twitter feed a few moments ago. Hardie Grant, the publisher behind Billy B Brown, Minecraft books, Winnie the Pooh and more. Are offering a chance for unpublished writers to make their debut.

The Ampersand Prize started in 2012 and is home of winners Erin Gough and Melissa Keil. And is for middle grade and young adult novels. ONE submission per writer.

Entries open THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1st 2016

Entries close FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16th 2016

So now is an excellent time to start or finish off your project.

Your submission must be in .doc or .pdf format.

You must include:

  • COVER SHEET (authors name, manuscript title, genre, word count, two sentence pitch of your story and a short author bio).
  • ONE PAGE SYNOPSIS- (key plot points, character development and tell them the ending).
  • FULL MANUSCRIPT (page numbers, font size 10 or 12 in a readable font, title in header or footer).

Submissions to be sent to: amersand@hardiegrant.com.au

For more information check out their website Ampersand Prize. Or you can find them on Facebook, Twitter.

Good luck.

Bec

I am in no way endorsed by Hardie Grant, paid to write up or advertise, or even asked to publish this competition. I saw it online and thought you all might be interested.

Writing Chapter One…

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Image sourced from Pinterest. Credit to the owners.

Writing Chapter One…

So many people say that they want to write but can’t. They don’t have the time, the imagination, the resources, skills, it’s too hard etc.

I want to say first of all, it’s not too hard. NEVER is writing too hard. What it is, is time consuming. And that in itself varies depending on your level of dedication.

Anyone can write. Anyone can draft a story, be it 500 words long or 500,000 words long. It’s not hard. Toddlers can verbally tell you a story. Something as inanimate as a tree can tell you a story, the markings in the bark, the damage to a branch. What you hear however, that is how it is told.

Writing comes in many forms, as does story telling. I have read some pretty terrible stories and some pretty great ones. But there are two things I have learned along the way:

  • Everyone gets better, rarely is your first story your best. My first fan fictions are shocking compared to my latest.
  • Everyone has their own style. This is key for me and it is the one thing I have learned during my time at TAFE studying professional writing. Each person has their own style, strengths, flaws. They all see and tell a scene differently. Some are so incredibly descriptive that you don’t know if you should keep reading or skip that section as you’ve read enough. Some barely have description and tend to leave it to the reader. Find yours and the stories will come. This isn’t just about genre it’s about the way you write as well.

You have the ability to write. Good or bad story telling is still story telling. But it won’t improve unless you start.

Time- that’s a factor many of us have issues with. I spent the first 12 months of my writing life, writing almost full time. Now it’s not as much, but if I ever get published I am happy to go back to that schedule. The more I wrote the better my mojo flowed.

Writing can take very little time, some authors only write a page or two a day, that’s about a book a year. That’s fantastic. Some write less. Some more. Can you get up half an hour earlier? Go to bed an hour later? Type it in over your lunch break?

I will be completely honest, if you want to write you’ll find the time. Writing is a passion and something that you need to want to do for yourself, for others, for your characters. It’s just a matter of putting words to paper.

So many people think you need something fancy to get your story out. You don’t. Pen and paper will do. Although publishers usually only accept typed copies now days. You can write your novel in anything from MS Word to Apple’s Pages, there is even software like Open Office that is free to download.

I tried using Scrivener but failed miserably. I found it too distracting and complicated. I like to be able to source what I need when I need and just have a basic word processing program. I have even added to my stories on my smart phone and tablet using the notes app and sent it through to myself and reformatted it to fit.

Skills, like the story telling ability, are something you learn along the way. Read other books, see how the novel is formatted, how they present it. Take note of punctuation and grammar. Even Google it. Everything is on the internet, you just have to search for it. There are even free lessons on grammar available. Most word processors come with a free spell check, it’s a great starting place, but never rely on it for everything.

When you discover something you were doing wrong or have trouble with it, write it down and stick it somewhere you can see. My wall is covered in grammar notes from when I first started. Including two brief sentences “Grasping for breath.” and “Remember to breathe.” I kept getting the two mixed up and it was just easier that way. Now I don’t need them but it was great to have that reminder. Same with the difference between then and than. While I knew them, in the midst of typing away or editing, I found I would have mental blanks and the reminder was helpful.

When it comes to imagination I will admit some people aren’t as imaginative as others. But that’s fine. It comes with practice. Start by trying to picture things in your head, your favourite TV episode, recall a conversation, think about what you would have said if they have of said the opposite. Then learn to question things. In primary school we were always taught research involved:

Who

What

When

Where

Why

How

Story telling has the same basis.

Who is involved in it?

What is happening?

When does it happen?

Where does it take place?

Why is it happening?

How does it happen?

Starting with these basic questions is a great way to begin to plan a novel if you need that extra help.

But most importantly you need to take the plunge and start. It doesn’t even have to be the beginning of your story. Write the ending first, the middle it doesn’t matter what order it comes together in as long as it does. If you’re worried about it all flowing nicely afterwards. Don’t. It’s why we edit.

What are your tips for starting your first story?

Bec

xx