Short Story Finalist And A Poetry Submissions Blitz

Normally people take stock of the old year in January, me, I wait until the middle of February, and I’m not even going to beat myself up about it. I had other things to deal with, and if it took me an extra six weeks to get things straightened up, then it took an extra six weeks.

Continue reading “Short Story Finalist And A Poetry Submissions Blitz”

November Speculative Fiction Prompt

Another month gone, and another month beginning. As we move into November, it is time for a new prompt.

This month I want you to think about the wonderful speculative fiction of authors such as Neil Gaiman, especially works such as Neverwhere. Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters series is another that you could look to for this month’s prompt. Both of these writers take the modern, real word, and overlay the fantastical. Fantasy and reality woven together to create engaging stories that suck the reader in and have us wondering what really lurks in the shadows.

The guidelines for those of you who are new are as follows:

  • Speculative Fiction: a genre of fiction that encompasses works in which the setting is other than the real world, involving supernatural, futuristic, or other imagined elements. [Oxford Dictionary]
  • Use the image below to write a story, poem, perhaps even a script. There are no rules about form or style. If you would like to create a piece of art in response that is also welcome. This prompt is about being artistic and creative in whatever way suits you best.
  • Please keep entries PG as this is open to all. (i.e no erotica)
  • The prompt is open from the first of the month to the end of the month.
  • Use pingbacks to link up to the prompt or leave a link in the comments section. Whichever you prefer.
  • I try to at least read every entry in the prompt and I’d love to encourage anyone taking part to try and check some of the other entries if they can.
  • As always, re-tweets, re-blogs, and shares are gratefully received. We are always open to new participants.

dream-2864678_1920
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Good luck to anyone who is also tackling NaNoWriMo this month. I wish you every success. Who knows, you could incorporate your response to this prompt into your novel somehow?

Happy writing everyone, and all the best for November.

If We Were Having Coffee: Novel Redrafts And Flash Fiction Competition #amwriting

It’s been a while since I’ve written a Weekend Coffee Share post, months in fact, but I’m currently supposed to writing an entry for the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Competition so this seemed like the perfect way to procrastinate.

Project StatsI signed up late for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. At the start of the month I was debating whether or not I was going to have a crack at it and decided not to because I tend to find that writing purely for word-count goals make it even harder for me to get myself into the right frame of mind for writing. That said, having  a goal in mind does help drive me forward on projects so when I started rewriting my Shadow Dawn novel around the 10th July, I decided that I’d set myself a 30,000 word goal for the month and use Camp NaNoWriMo to help me hit that target. I’ve got more time to focus on my writing this month as  I’m still waiting for the result of my last AAT Level 3 exam which means I haven’t got any studying to do. However, other social engagements are taking up most of my weekends so my current progress has been limited to what I can write during my lunch hour at work. Hence the pitiful looking bar chart above.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I’m also taking part in the NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction competition. The deadline for round one is 4am (GMT) so I’ve got the rest of this afternoon to sort out my 1,000 words story and submit it, even if the heat is making it almost impossible for me to get on with anything. I’d rather melt than write at the moment so I’m hoping hammering out a post might encourage me to hammer out a thousand words of fiction in a few minutes time. I can easily write a thousand words in a hour so a first draft should be straight forward, I just wish the weekend wouldn’t slip past me so quickly.

*Note: It’s now almost five in the evening as I’ve been procrastinating from writing this post as well. I really need to learn to just get on with things.*

dverselogo

Tomorrow will mark DVerse Poets Pub coming back off their two week break, something I’ve been looking forward to since their first day of absence. For the last fortnight I’ve been desperate for poetry prompt so I can’t wait until Monday’s Quadrille night.

I’m also trying to work out how to take my poetry to the next level on this poem. When going through the stats on this site I realize that I only reach about fifty views per post most of the while so I’d really like to start bumping that number up. I suppose the upside to that total is that my view total stays quite close to my likes total so I can see that most people who read the poems, go on to liking them. I just need to find a way of getting more people reading them.

Other than that there isn’t much going on this weekend. I hope yours have been slightly more productive than mine and I will now go off and get this flash fiction piece written for NYC Midnight before I find a way to procrastinate right up to the deadline. All the best for the next week and thanks for reading.

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.png

Ten Thousand Words And Counting

tenk_earned-353639821c007d19ebc23d09e84fa5c6

It’s just turned afternoon here in the UK and instead of planning my evening for bonfire night, I’m staring at my NaNoWriMo word-count, wondering how much more I can get written before I need to leave the house. After all, I need pesky things like food and the kitchen is looking a little bare at the moment.

I’m going to keep this week’s Weekend Coffee Share short as I really do need to keep my attention on finishing the current draft of Shadow Dawn. Over the last five days I have written 10,128 words to add to my book, taking the current draft total to…

bum-ba-da-dum:

27,812

I’m currently working on chapter ten of the book and I’m really proud of how much I’ve written over the last week. Writing the synopsis for Shadow Dawn really helped with motivating me and keeping me from going off track during the last few days.

I’m not quite hitting the same daily word-counts as I was when I blasted out the last full draft of Shadow Dawn, but I’m managing at least 2,000 words a day, and yes, I’m writing each chapter over from scratch.

Reading back the stuff I’d written from about chapter five onward, it was clear that my story had taken some very weird tangents to the point where none of the characters were heading in the direction that they needed to be.

We are now on track.

Mostly.

I’ve cut away most of the old draft and I’m starting afresh.

In December I will have to go back and lengthen a lot of the chapters, and I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I’m crap at chapter endings. I really struggle to create a final paragraph that doesn’t feel too sudden or cliched.

But! That is all a December problem and right now it’s November so I need to get back to writing. Best of luck to anyone else who’s also trying to complete NaNoWriMo this month.

Happy writing!

weekendcoffeeshare

November: There Might Be Time To Save This Year Yet

If we were having coffee then the first thing I’d be telling you is that this year has not gone to plan, but then again, no year ever goes to plan and I suppose that’s part of the joy of life.

It’s the end of October and with only two months left in 2016, I’m trying to work out what exactly I have achieved for myself over the course of this year. In all honesty, it’s nowhere near as much as I wanted to, especially when it comes down to my book and my blog.

Featured Image -- 4666At the beginning of this year I wanted to revamp Headquarters, but it quickly became apparent that I didn’t have the time to do this without taking time away from my AAT Qualification or my book. So instead I decided to focus on those two things and leave Headquarters for another year.

Then in June I moved house and further delay was added to everything on my to do list as the mania of shifting my life from one property to another took over with all the wonder of solicitors, estate agents and mortgage advisers. My time was spent looking over surveyor’s reports and decoding the cryptic foreign language of contracts. For a few months, there was room for nothing else and the book, my course, and my blog fell by the wayside.Whereas 2015 saw significantly more views and visitors than 2014, it looks like 2016 will only just manage to catch up with the 2015 numbers. Which seems a little strange as I posted over 100 more posts this year compared to last.

All in all, 2016 hasn’t been the year I expected it to be, and moving into 2017 I realised that I won’t be in the position I wanted to be in. I will still have my AAT qualification to complete, Headquarters is still languishing semi-complete, I haven’t had the time for things I wanted on Writing and Works, and there’s that little event called a wedding that I need to plan for 2018. So what am I going to do? I’m going to re-evaluate.

 

It’s important to set yourself goals with a timeline. They help to propel you forward and give you a finishing line to aim for. But remember, if you suddenly realise that you won’t hit that goal it doesn’t mean the end of the world. You just have to re-evaluate where you are, and how you get to where you want to be.

 

As I said, Shadow Dawn is not where I wanted it to be by the end of 2016. My motivation has slumped and died with no signs of reviving any time soon. Finishing by the end of the year looked impossible. If I throw myself into blogging every day I could possibly bring the site stats up, but I would burn out and not have time for anything else. No doubt the content would suffer and instead of enjoying writing posts I would stress about them. Along with everything else this dilemma started to send me into a tail spin.

So I took a step back. I asked myself ‘what is the thing I really want to see finished by the end of the year? Why is this not where I want it? What’s holding me up?’

The answer was my novel. The reason it wasn’t where I wanted was because I was still trying to write bits of the story that I didn’t properly understand. I had a beginning and an end but the middle was a sort of mushy mess that didn’t make much sense at all and the ending was more of a wistful hope than a solid finish.

So I closed down the document holding my draft, and I opened a fresh one.

Instead of spooling out another chapter that seemed to be heading towards a cliff of empty, black nothingness, I wrote a synopsis.

Well I say a synopsis. It was my version of one. My 2,000 word, broken, jumpy, question riddled version of one. But it’s done the trick.

 

Going back to the drawing board can be tough, but remember, without strong foundations the whole house ends up collapsing.

You need foundations, even if they’re made of post-it notes.

 

I now have a four page document that details my story from beginning to end. It tells me how and when the characters interact, where in the time line they are and how I get from beginning to middle to end.

I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t easy to write. At times I wanted to smash my forehead into the keyboard and give up entirely. But in the end it was done and I had something that I felt proud of. Something I could use to finish Shadow Dawn before 2016 comes to a close.

Which is why I’m doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t do two weeks ago. I’m going to do NaNoWriMo.

crest-05e1a637392425b4d5225780797e5a76.png

You’ve heard the phrase ‘kill your darlings’? Well completing this draft of Shadow Dawn means rewriting most of it and adding in a huge amount of content. At least 50,000 words worth. So NaNoWriMo seems like a great motivational tool for getting that done as forcing myself to write every night for a month is how I got to the end of the last draft.

I’m not going to put off writing until November as I’ve got the first six chapters under my belt already and I want to get chapter seven done this weekend. This will mean that I start NaNoWriMo with about 20,000 words and I’ll then add another 50,000 words on during the month. Those 20,000 words won’t be included in my word count for NaNoWriMo as that would be cheating and I want to prove to myself that I can win NaNoWriMo if I put my mind to it.

Right, now that I’ve said NaNoWriMo so many times that the word no longer holds any meaning, I’ll finish up with this.

2016 has not been the year I expected. It’s been filled with excitement and it’s been filled with sadness as well. However, I have survived and I have got to the end a better person than I started. Even if I don’t hit any of the goals I’m still aiming for, I know that I at least got half way there.

This blog and my book are two things I feel passionately about. The book because it’s part of that dream I’ve had since I was five, and this blog because I’ve been able to explore other styles and forms of writing while meeting amazing, supportive people who inspire and motivate me.

2017 will be a new year with new challenges, but I will be the one who chose how I face it, and I still have time to change how I feel when this year ends.

weekendcoffeeshare