I usually weigh up the amount of time I have and the key ideas I have for a story then decide I can complete NaNoWriMo, even if it means neglecting my family. However this year I have decided to be a bit more pragmatic. I will not being taking part in NaNoWriMo, but not due to time available or lack of ideas. I have come to realise that I cannot keep starting new projects and leave myself with a pile of unfinished and unedited work. This year, instead of starting a new novel, I will be passing ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ through ProWritingAid as my final piece of editing for the novella. That should mean that I can get it realised for Christmas or just after. Unfortunately it will not be beta read as my beta readers all lead busy lives and have not managed to have a look at the book. At least, though, it should be one project I can tick off. I will still be writing ‘Islands of Hope’ so expect weekly updates to continue. All in all then, although I am not competing in NaNoWriMo this year, something good will come out of it.
It is about half way through the year so I thought I would do an update on where I am with writing, not that it is really interesting. It may seem like I am not releasing much other than the odd poem or piece of flash fiction, probably because that is true. However, despite my apparent lack of writing I am actually working harder than ever to get things ready. Yes work is hectic and yes I do have two small children but I have my phone at my side and a lot of the time it is in my hand so I can edit. This is really starting to annoy my wife who just wants to have a conversation with me! That and the fact I have recently got a Nintendo Switch and Call of the Wild means I am no more than an enigma at the moment!
Right, on to specifics. Firstly, if you did not know already, I have finished editing ‘A Close Shave with Destiny.’ It is now with my beta readers, I have three but they are not professional editors or beta readers for a living so are doing me a favour. They also have busy lives so feedback is coming in slowly. When they have read it and final changes made it will be published through CreateSpace and on Kindle.
The novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo, ‘The Fifth Coin,’ is at the editing stage. I am about two-thirds through my first pass and am pretty happy at the moment. My new plan is to finish the editing then send it to a few publishers. When I get the obligatory rejection letters I will go ahead and publish it myself.
I have an idea for a children’s novel too but at the moment I am using all my willpower not to start it. Too many of my projects are half done before I flit onto the next thing. I am determined to get some writing finished so am focusing on editing before moving on. That said I do have ideas for more flash fiction to be included in ‘The First Flash of Hope.’ I am holding off on those as well until my first pass of ‘The Fifth Coin’ is complete then I can do a flash fiction or two before going on to stage 2 of editing my novel.
So there you go, I am still writing and I am being productive. With summer holidays coming soon I may even become more productive (although I will be spending most of it with the kids!). Just hang in there, I will be releasing stuff soon enough, I promise.
So here we are again, at the end of another year and once more, like nearly all writers, I am doing a look back at the year blog post and, in terms of writing, what a year it has been. Right, after that really long sentence let’s begin.
I always start off by reviewing my targets from the year. I specifically kept them simple in 2016 to avoid disappointment and another year of failure, simply put all I planned to do was ‘do some writing’ and I certainly did that. It is probably clearer to look at my three successes…
Poetry – as you may know I am bad at poetry, but that has never stopped me writing it! I managed a whopping six new poems that included topics such as Nintendo, love, Star Wars and not being able to write well. I have never had a repository for my poetry so decided to make one rather that it just sitting on this blog. That meant that ‘Bad Poetry you probably never want to read’ was born. I popped in my older poems that were on this site along with the new ones. As it is a work in progress it is only available on wattpad at the moment. You can read it here. There was to be a seventh poem for the year but nanowrimo took over and it was abandoned. Please feel free to ignore my poetry but if you do read it can you leave a review? It can be good or confirm my belief that I am terrible at the medium.
A Close Shave with Destiny – I finally finished my first draft of the story I started in October 2015 for Movember. It turned from a 5000 word short story to a nearly 40,000 word novelette. I finished it just before the start of nanowrimo so it still needs a proofread and a cover created. Expect it out in paperback and ebook format in 2017.
The Fifth Coin – this was my story for nanowrimo, which I am happy to say I won thanks to sticking very close to the target daily word count. I really like the story and have pushed myself to keep writing it in December, although not at nano pace. I am now on 60,000ish words and only have three chapters to write to finish the first draft, two of which I am already half way through. I hope to have it out next year as well.
So overall nothing published but a lot of words down, the most in any one year. This is largely thanks to Google docs which allows me to write from anywhere. I often sit for five minutes and add the odd hundred words which does add a little to a novel and keeps you in the flow. In fact I am writing this blog post on Google docs on my phone whilst my daughter is asleep in my arms.
Right on to next year, there is a lot I would like to do but the ‘just write something’ idea worked really well this year so I am keeping it. That said, in an ideal work ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ and ‘The Fifth Coin’ would be published and I would have started work on something else as well as a few more poems being released. We will see though!
Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year, I look forward to 2017 in the hope that it is good for writing. Thank you to new followers through the media hop set up by Raimey Gallant, I do look at your posts even if I rarely comment. I do hope you enjoy this blog and find it useful. Anyway, to every out there good luck in whatever you do next year, unless it involves hurting kittens, then I am afraid I cannot condone it!
I love the fact that people find inspiration in the strangest of places. Recently I won NaNoWriMo (as if you could not tell!) and in the dark times my inspiration came from the strangest place. I headed back to my homeland of Guernsey to visit family just before NaNo started. As it was the first time some of my family were meeting my six month old daughter I got showered with gifts, well they were all for her or her three year old brother! One of the gifts was a pink bear that played music, I have since searched on the Internet to find out is it the Chicco First Dreams Baby Bear. There is a blue and pink version, we have pink but that adds nothing to the story! The bear projects stars, that change colour, onto the ceiling and plays classical music. We put it on each night when we rock my daughter to sleep. Not that inspirational at the moment but something magical happened and I did not realise it at first. There was one tune, a soft melody that made me think of sadness but with hope. It was not until about a week into NaNo that I realised it was creating images in my head, these images were ones from the novel I was writing but it was more than that, it was like I was sat waiting for my wife to start a DVD. There was the main menu playing this tune and on the screen were parts of my story playing out like a move. Each night it seemed to be about what I had just written or what I was about to write. That bear, that melodic tune got me out of a few sticky situations, when I did not know how to link two sections of the book together or how a certain character would react to a situation. As soon as it came on, and still now as I finish the novel I started for NaNoWriMo, I wanted to write, I had the itch, I had the ideas. I just had to get my daughter to sleep first!
The only frustrating thing is that I do not know what the song is called and I can not find anywhere on the web that tells you. I am not going to sift through every classic song to find it. One thing I do know is that if my novel ever becomes a film and we are about to release a DVD (probably will all be blu-ray by then!) I will want that song as the tune on the menu. I can see it now, sat in a meeting about the movie with a child’s pink bear blurting out songs till we get to the right one. “That one,” I’ll shout, “that’s the menu song!” Suppose I better stop dreaming and finish writing the novel then!
For the second time in my short life I have completed NaNoWriMo. In 2013 this was a race to the finish on the last day, this time I was the epitome of just hitting your word count every day. When I started I was worried about work and family commitments but this time my planning was so detailed that I did not find it too hard to complete. I do feel that if a Dad with two young children and a demanding job can complete NaNo then anyone can!
So now I can sit back and relax, or rather not. When I started I thought that I might not have enough content for 50,000 words but after about five days it became clear that 50,000 words was never going to be enough to tell the story I wanted. Now I have two choices, take a break from writing for a bit or plow on and get my first draft finished. I am in the writing zone now but I thought after thirty days of constant writing I would want to stop for a bit, however I am actually excited about getting my first draft finished. I don’t think I have ever felt so excited when writing, maybe the book isn’t going to be that bad after all. So here are my plans for the rest of the year and into next…
- Finish the first draft of The Fifth Coin
- Design a cover for A Close Shave with Destiny
- Edit A Close Shave with Destiny
- Release A Close Shave with Destiny
- Edit The Fifth Coin
- Release The Fifth Coin
So a lot to keep me busy then. But if NaNo has given me one thing it is hope, I don’t know if I will have anything released by the end of the year but at least I am moving forward with my writing once again. Right, I am off to open door one of my Lego Star Wars advent calendar, yeah I’m just a big kid really!
Two pieces of good news regarding my writing, this using my phone and Google Drive is really helping me to get more words down, you should try it! Anyway, here is the news…
- ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ first draft complete – yes, I have done it. The story that was started in October last year as a 5,000 word short story for Movember is complete, well the first draft is. It is now a little under 40,000 words and has turned into a novella. My next job is to edit it and create a front cover. I have decided that I will put it up for sale for Movember. I intend to make a hard copy using CreateSpace, as well as a Kindle version, and will donate any money I make to Movember. It may not be up for a little while because of good news number two…
- I’m doing NaNoWriMo again – with the use of Google Drive on my phone I feel a lot more
confident about doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I have a really exciting idea about a story, it does involve a lot of research though. I have started the planning process and have more than enough information to write 50,000 words. I have even created a cover for the book already! The story centres around a fourteen year old called Daniel Phillips whose father is in an accident. He gets given an old coin from his father that gives him powers. It turns out that there are others with coins and powers and that they have intervened in historical events. However, there are dark forces out to gain access to the coins. The novel will be for young adults and flips between historical events and present day. It is entitled ‘The Fifth Coin.’ I will keep everyone aware of my progress via twitter.
I’m not sure about you but I am very excited.
I said there would be writing this half term, I was wrong, again! It was decided that a home improvement project was the most important part of the to do list to get on with and therefore, once more, my pastimes fell by the wayside. I was hoping to complete NANOWRIMO again this year but the new job and the way the holiday has gone have made me reconsider so I am sad to say that I will once again not be taking part. A lot of people have been saying that I need to stop working so hard and do a little more for myself so I am going to take inspiration from NANO and rather than commit the time to take part I will make sure I spend some time during the month writing, or rather creating images. I would really like to get my second children’s picture book out before Christmas, largely as it is for my son and I would love him to have a copy in his stocking. Will it happen, probably not, but I can dream!
In more positive news I have decide to grow the mo again and will be taking part in Movember, much to the annoyance of my long suffering wife! If you want to sponsor me then please do, you can do it by going here. I will update with some pictures to suitably scare you all! To help fundraise I have also decided to do some writing so will be producing a short story and selling it through Amazon Kindle with all profits going to Movember. So look out for that and please buy it, it will be quite serious with a silly setting.
Once again I am sorry about the lack of writing and that I will not be doing NANO but at least there is some good news! Right I am off to decide which tash will suit me best!