Saturday, 28 November 2009

Final Daze

Hello all!

Monday is the last day of NaNoWriMo. Monday is the last day of this month's IndyWriMo.

I've not done well, at all. I started off really well and petered out towards the middle and completely gave up at the end. I feel bad - it feels like I've somehow betrayed myself and am annoyed by that.

But then, hardly being at home and procrastinating does this too you.

So - today is the last day of this month's IndyWriMo - I think I've managed around 18+k. Not ideal, but vastly better than a poke in the eye with a stick.

How did everyone else do?

Also - who's up for a December IndyWriMo?

Here's my thinking: the above 18k was on my YA WIP. December for me will be rewrites on Djinn. Mark and I joined an informal critique group just this week past. We each got a chance to talk about our writing with the others in the group listening. Yeah, I know - utterly petrifying.

But what came out of the first meeting was thoughts on me straying from the original mythologies I'm using and bringing in other pantheons, which is a no-no. Which makes sense. It also means killing off a character and wiping their presence from the book which after much thought made me realise that yes, this is something I can and want to do as it suddenly will explain so much more about my main character Nicholas. D'oh! And of course, my Adversary in the novel is completely miscast and with a slight flick of my wrist, hey frigging presto, personal stakes are raised and it's suddenly a different animal all together.

So, I'd like to work on Djinn as much as possible this December and January and would love the support of my fellow IndyWriMo-ers. Let me know if you'd be interested. As we said in the original post: Indy isn't just for November!

Oh, as for the illustration above: that is by Wayne Reynolds whom I love. (his initials WAR) He did the sketch in our tiny autograph book which Mark took to Thoughtbubble last weekend. Wayne is incredibly talented and erudite and it was only as I was looking for a piccie to stick up on the blogpost that I saw that Mark had scanned this into the Mac. And it suits - because in the YA WIP a young fae girl walks across the street and a pair of horns lift from her brow. And this picture illustrates her perfectly.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

November 24th - Check In

Hi guys - here we are again.

So, I'm at 13,000 which isn't great! However, motoring on today with the hopes of pushing that up some.

How's everyone else doing?

Saturday, 21 November 2009

21st November - check in

Check in time again, it comes around far too quickly!

How's everyone doing?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

How do you write?

No, I mean physically. Not HOW do you write i.e. where do you get your ideas from, how do you create your characters, all of that.

I mean, how do you write - dictation into a tape/to your fabulous assistant whilst lounging around drinking Pimms and nibbling cookies?

Do you have a favourite pen, or a style of notebooks you have to have with you when inspiration strikes?

Do you write by hand, with a quill, or do you open up your word doc or pages doc and just get on with it?

I ask this because I've found that my "how I write" has changed these last few years.

When I was younger and quite small and a bit stupid, I used to write on everything and in everything. Including my sisters' school books. Seriously. Crayons, pencils, pens, paint brushes. So that doesn't count. Unless I become JKR famous then of course these bits will be worth so much money I'll be able to afford a trip to the moon. But that's not very likely.

Growing up in South Africa I lived pretty much a computer / techie free life. Writing was always in notebooks or stolen school books. And boy, did I have loads of them! When I turned 15 my parents bought me this ancient typewriter that matched the typewriter I had at school. I took typing - thank the gods I did - and when I got home after school and after doing my homework, I would start typing stories for myself, late into the night. I was hugely embarrassed and secretive about it and NEVER EVER showed anyone what I typed. Mostly I plagiarised books I found from the library and only changed names. I know. I know. But even Shakespeare wasn't an Original!

Then I met Mark when I was 23/24...that was a bit blurry and a bit of a wild time for us as we did so much. Motorbiked all over SA, worked at the bank full time and then worked at a restaurant in the evenings. And one of our friends, Angelo, had a computer at his house...and that's the first time I electronically started writing. I wrote to keep track of our gaming escapades. I wrote snippets of stories and saved them on "stiffies". It was a revelation, learning how to navigate this fantastic tool that was especially JUST created for me. A writer.

We moved to the UK and of course, I utterly and completely became embroiled in computers. It's become a passion.

My first ever personal computer was a Sony Vaio which turned out not to have been for me. It was big, ugly and heavy. Dreams of writing in coffee shops fell flat. I gave it away. That was nine years ago and several laptops and computers later.

Now I have a top of the range iMac which is glorious. I love its size - 21.5" - and its clarity. I love its keyboard and magicmouse. I love how when I sit in front of it, I feel enveloped in it. It makes me WANT to write. It makes me want to be creative. I feel like a writer. It's challenging and it makes me want to not let it down.

I still have my love of journals and notebooks though - especially Moleskines. I also a selection of truly gorgous leatherbound journals made for me. These I love to look at and hold and touch but I can't bring myself to use them. Then, on the other hand, I flirted for a long while with the notebooks from Paperchase too. In fact, in this respect I am pretty much a bit of a tart - if it's pretty, and funky, I'll buy it. I'll buy it for making notes, scribbling down ideas, words, conversations, snippets, thoughts.

As much as I love writing by hand - my third finger on my right hand (counting from the thumb) has this deep dent from my days in school from writing by hand - I'm definitely a computer writer. Writing for me is seeing my words rapidly appearing like insane ants high on sugar, on that blank page on the computer screen.

So, what is your writing implement poison?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

November 17th - Check In

Hi guys, that time again.

So how are we all doing?

I'm now at 10000 - hoorah for that but still way short!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

November 14th - Check In

Next check in time. I'm not sure why November is going so fast, but I need extra days!!

So, how are we all doing?

Monday, 9 November 2009

9th November - Check In

Hi everyone, check in time.

How's everyone been doing? I've done a little over 3000 since the last count. I'm a bit vague as I've been away and have resorted to pen and paper and haven't typed it up. I'll be conservative and say that my count so far is 5089.

I always swore I'd never write by hand again as typing it up becomes editing so I'll probably leave that little job until 1st December!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

So proud!

Guys - you are all simply amazing - the writing has gone so well for practically everyone, even if we are all trying various bits of procrastination!

My procrastination is: leaving my memory stick with Vassilly's Daughter at work.

This however means that I have no idea what I'm on as I managed to get some words down yesterday at work - I know, right? Aren't I supposed to work at work..well, if no one else is in, and I have nothing to do... ;-)

I have all of tomorrow - Sunday, to get some words down as Mark is going fishing. He's getting up at FOUR IN THE MORNING to do this. That's insane. *snuggle further into duvet*

So, I get to write my "Send in a man with a gun" scene. Which will kickstart the physical violent and hopefully gory action. Yes, uhm, I am writing a YA. (hee hee)

Oh, the picture above is of female boxer: Danyelle Wolf - find her website here. I love her look and her build. She's a perfect match for my main character, Nika. I hope, if Danyelle or her coach finds this, that they don't mind me nabbing the picture!

Oh! (snaps fingers as idea hits) I know what I'm doing next, searching to find a picture of Thorn and then one for Alex - that means everyone of import has a face. Oh, sorry, procrastination!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

3rd November, check in

So, how did you do?

Was it a good few days or aren't we talking about it?

Next check in is: 8th November!

Procrastination & Butt In Chair

I'm the queen of procrastination, a reigning monarch in the art of do-everything-else-but. Hence, here I am doing IndyWriMo - quite simply I need something like this to help prevent my book getting stuck halfway through. The best article I've ever read about this is by the magnificent Maggie Stiefvater entitled, "The Giant Butt-Kicking How to Write a Novel Post."

This helped me realise what I was doing which has basically been along the lines of admitting to myself that I desperately needed to do at least 1000 words today right after I'd sorted out the limescale on the shower or got that dog fur up from the kitchen floor. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting any of use should live in squalor for the whole of November. I found that just deciding that I'm already a writer and therefore had to find time to write virtually every day went a long way to getting things done. Sometimes it's just half an hour, other times it's half a day. I believe exercises like IndyWriMo has the potential to help me get a better writing ethic, just by simply doing it every day and of course the vital contact with other writers (yay for that).

But mostly I'd just like to beat my procrastination into a small ball and tidy it away, without limescale of course.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Today was hopefully everyone else's first day of IndyWriMo.

How did it go?

I spent some time re-reading what I had written before on my newest WIP which is a YA called (working title) Vassilly's Daughter. Then Mark and I sat down and wrote furiously for a while, the mp3 player plugged in to thrill our ears with tunes, and Sparrow tucked under the table (farting) on his blankie.

It was a happy creative fug. ;-)

I hope all went well with all of you! Remember, if you've not started yet, there is plenty of time to catch up. Best of luck!

Oh, as for the picture above. That's my inspiration for Uncle Yuri, Nika's (my protagonist's) uncle.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

To encourage and to inspire

I'm a thief! I've just nabbed most of the post below from my site I had created for my novel Curse of the Djinn. I suppose it's okay if I plagiarise myself!?

This (and that) post is about sites some of you may not be familiar with which encourage, inspire, deal with hard facts, scare and give valuable information to potential authors, existing writers and scribblers and also give some pause to existing published authors. I have a massive RSS feed of blogs and websites which I enjoy reading and thought I'd share that with some of you.

I list some of my favourites below:

The Deadline Dames - nine urban fantasy authors talk about their books, writing, lifestyle, book promos and giveaways. An invaluable source written by established authors for readers and newbie authors alike. You can’t go wrong reading their posts or even subscribing to their RSS feed. Even if urban fantasy / paranormal romance is not your thing, their advice is solid and skitters across all genres and it also covers YA.

Bookends Literary Agency - BookEnds, LLC, is a literary agency focusing on fiction and nonfiction books for adult audiences. Primary agents include Jessica Faust, Jacky Sach, and Kim Lionetti. I have a LOT to thank Bookends for because Jessica (the main blogger) is never scared to tackle the bull by the horns and actually tell it like it is. A fascinating blog by a topnotch US Literary agency.

BBC Writer’s Room- identifies and champions new writing talent and diversity across BBC Drama, Entertainment and Children’s programmes. I’m not sure if I’m the only person who enjoys reading scripts. I would love to turn my hand to writing scripts one day in the far future BUT at the moment, I love reading what screenwriters have done when creating good tv shows that keep us riveted to the screen. This site offers interviews, views and links to scripts which you can download and dissect. Never turn away a chance to read a good screenplay or script – there is much to learn about characterisation and plotting.

Editorial Anonymous - is the blog for an anonymous children’s editor in the US. A strong, different, often hilarious blog about the industry and what she comes up against on a daily basis.

Editorial Ass - Moonrat is one of the best in the industry – funny, concise, scathing, intelligent and actually influential enough to appear on numerous other blogs and websites.

Bibliophile Stalker - Charles Tan is a new to me editorial assistant and from the looks of it, his blog is a valuable resource for anyone interested in writing, upcoming books etc. He has duly been added to my RSS feed.

Jennifer Jackson (her livejournal blog) and Jennifer Jackson her official agent’s blog – she works for the Donald Maass Agency…and has been for a long time. Need I say more?

How Publishing Really Works - Jane Smith owner and contributor to the blog tells it like it is. The name says it all.

Janet Reid - US agent extraordinaire and full of badassness. That made me laugh. A very concise blog and one to dip into for established and newbies alike.

Locus Online - Not an agent or a publisher, but one of the best mags in the sci fi and fantasy industry – worth subscribing to via RSS.

Nathan Bransford - Nathan works for the renowned international agency Curtis Brown. His blog is a must read as he handles FAQ from his readers and is one of the most prolific and nicest agents I’ve come across. Always worth a read and a re-read.

Rachelle Gardner – US Agent blogging answers to questions you always wanted to ask but you were too afraid to!

Redlines and Deadlines- A group of editors working for the Elora’s Cave Publishing company. Contributing Editors: Kelli Collins, Meghan Conrad, Raelene Gorlinsky, Sue-Ellen Gower, Donna Hoard, Briana St. James, Helen Woodall. They focus on genre fiction: erotic romance, erotica, mainstream romance, women’s fiction, mystery/suspense, horror, scifi, fantasy/paranormal. And again, the advice is very good and makes for interesting reading.

Writer Beware Blogs! - Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, shines a light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls.

One of my all-time favourites is Magical Words and like Deadline Dames it's run by four very enthusiastic authors who do their best to demystify the writing and publishing process for those interested in the craft. An excellent blog - and that's not just because I am a slavish fan to Faith Hunter either!

I've not even scraped the surface of what other resources are out there for writers both in the UK and in the States and elsewhere. Please, feel free to post more links in the comments (she begs) and then I can set up a blogroll here for others to plunder.

Monday, 26 October 2009

What's IndyWriMo?

A group of friends were thinking that the National Novel Writing Month - otherwise known as nanowrimo - is an excellent idea. I personally have taken part three years running and have "won" once. But although it's an excellent idea, we realised that writing 50k a month is pretty rough going, especially if you have a Real Life and other responsibilities.

So we've come up with our own version and we're calling it IndyWriMo - Independent Writing Month. What's fun about IndyWriMo is:

1. Our total is 30,000 words a month. Broken down that is 1,000 words a day. Not all that much, to be honest.

2. IndyWriMo can become a challenge during the course of the year and doesn't JUST have to be during the month of November.

3. IndyWriMo is not affiliated with anyone or anything and there are no costs and no fees and can be done in conjunction with NaNoWriMo or entirely on its own.

4. IndyWriMo can be a fun and easy way to challenge some writerly mates and of course, it's a good way to get your word count up without sacrificing quality by forcing yourself to write too much.

And although I would love to take the credit for this, our friend Kaz Mahoney thought up this idea of reduced wordage and launched it as KazNoWriMo but due to unexpectedly falling ill with a truly horrendous cold, has given up the idea (for now) so instead of stealing her name in vain, we thought up the name IndyWriMo instead.

The rules are stupidly simple:

**Join to write 30,000 words (at least) this month.
**Check in twice weekly with a word count to inspire others and yourself.
**Challenge friends to join, start that novel and maybe even finish that novel you have at the bottom of your drawer!

Please leave comments below if you are interested in joining and we invite you post your totals twice a week under the correct blog post! We will kick off on November 3rd.