The First Draft- It’s a love/hate thing.

One of my major flaws as a writer (and as a person) is my need to get everything perfect first time around.

You see how this could be a problem when it comes to writing? 😀 Considering the amount of drafts we have to do before we get something we’re pleased enough with to publish?

Writing a first draft can, at times, hurt me.

Staring at this horrible screen of text that isn’t perfect, that isn’t lovely, that sometimes doesn’t even make sense; it doesn’t do me any good!

But I have gotten better over this year since writing has become career. The first draft has to be written, no matter how I do it, it is the foundation of my book. If I don’t write, then I’m not doing my job! 😀

The way I like to look at a first draft is that it is the skeleton. It is the bones of my manuscript.

The second draft is the muscles.

The third is the skin.

And from then on extra drafts and changes are the clothing, jewelry, and make up that allow my manuscript to sparkle.

Still, it’s hard. Nowadays I write my first draft without looking back at it. I just write it and keep on going. I use simple, not very active words, such as ‘pushed’, ‘pulled’ ‘looked’, etc, I even have sections where I’ve written, ‘She’s angry- describe’. I just write whatever to get that first draft down, with notes to remind me when I go back to edit.

I can then go back and change those words, make it active. make it flow. I can change the details, add description where I have left it out, etc.

But it is a struggle! When I think my writing is terrible, it puts a damper on my mood (which my poor family and friends have to deal with, sorry to them!), and I go into a fit of, ‘I suck as a writer!’ 😀

But by the end, when all the layers are added, I come out of that mood having produced something I can be really proud of. A story that has been worth all the moods and hard work 🙂

What I’m trying to say is- Just write it. Don’t worry about language, or word use, or adverbs, or anything like that in a first draft. Just do whatever it takes to get that main bulk down.

It’s after the first draft that the real work begins 😉

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 2793 (Total word count: 23,503).

Books read: 2/4.

Mid-October Book Review: We won’t talk about the lack of that…

Posts to Check Out!

Here some of the posts that caught my eye this week!

http://arranbhansal.com/2014/10/06/arran-is-going-to-the-houses-of-parliament/ – Arran has been asked to the Houses of Parliament! So major congrats to him 🙂

http://juliestock.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/a-few-proofreading-tips-to-improve-your-manuscript/ – Some great tips on proof-reading your manuscript!

http://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/a-storytelling-secret/ – A cool and important lesson from Chris!

http://mystiparker.com/2014/10/06/support-an-author-support-a-business/ – I could write a whole essay in response this brilliant post. Indie authors and their businesses need support!

http://dkcreaderscorner.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/being-an-indie-author/ – Another amazing post about being an indie author and the awesomeness of the writing community.

http://lmarie7b.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/like-a-movie/ – A great post about fight scenes and cause and effect.

http://thecollegenovelista.com/2014/10/07/how-to-increase-your-writing-speed/ – Increasing your writing speed and sites to help you do that.

http://redclayandroses1.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/is-this-mass-suicide/ – A very good topic about sales and free eBooks, something all indie readers need to think of.

http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/on-second-drafts/ – Brilliant advice on second drafts, this quote, ‘Write Fast, Edit Slow(ly)’ especially caught my attention!

http://chaptertk.com/2014/10/09/why-even-bother-to-read/ – A good question posed in this post!

Hope you have a great Sunday everyone! 🙂

September 2014 Round-up and October 2014 Plan

I know, I’m a bit late!

Anyway, didn’t I just write one of these? 😀 I can’t even keep up with this year!

This month was a little bit of a blur, what with my vacation and getting The Magic Spark ready for release. But I managed it!

September:

– Kept to schedule.
– Released The Magic Spark, my fifth book!
– Had an awesome vacation, and got some lovely rest.
– Connected regularly with bloggers and found some new blogging friends, which was nice 😀
– Managed to share other people’s posts and book releases on Twitter and Facebook much more effectively.
– Just managed to squeeze in 4 books to reach my target! – The Rule of Four by Dustin Thomason and Ian Caldwell, Destiny of Kings by Fiona Tarr, The Christmas Beginning by Anne Perry, and The Forbidden Quest by Alaina Stanford.
– Cut social media hours down to 2 hours a day- Still figuring that out. It started well, but has recently started creeping back up!

Doesn’t seem like I did a lot, but it certainly felt like an exhausting month!

As for marketing… yeah, let’s not talk about that utter failure to do anything…

Onto October 😀

1st-31st- Write first draft of next book.
15th- Mid-October Book Review.
29th- End of Month Indie Review.

Goals:

– Read 4 books.
– I’m gonna put marketing in this list, but we all know how that’s going to go! 😀
– Write some short pieces, I miss that.
– Actively support others, and find new ways of doing so!
Sort out my Pinterest boards, they are such a mess.

So, other things that happened around the blogging/writing community this month:

– Marcia Meara set up a new writing focused blog- http://marciamearawrites.com/

– Shehanne Moore came back to us! – http://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/a-whole-new-league-with-anne-lange/

– Cassie at My Etch a Sketch Life gave Stolen Bloodline a great review! http://myetchasketchlife.com/2014/09/17/stolen-bloodline-by-mishka-jenkins/

– Got a sneak peek of characters from The Legends of Windemere by Charles Yallowitz series I am really looking forward to reading! – http://legendsofwindemere.com/2014/09/16/picture-sneak-peek-gabriel-and-his-unicorn/

– Karen at My Train of Thoughts posted some great quotes from some awesome bloggers- http://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/3-quotes-by-writers-we-know-and-admire/

– D. Emery Bunn released his new book, Darkness Concealed, which has gotten some great reviews so far! – http://www.demerybunn.com/blog/2014/09/23/darkness-concealed-is-out-now/

Hope everyone has a great October, a month (from the looks of Pinterest and Tumblr) that is going to be filled with pie and everything pumpkin related 😀

Photo by Twisted Pixel on Flickr- Click photo to go to Photostream

Photo by Twisted Pixel on Flickr- Click photo to go to Photostream

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 6,865

Books read: 1/4

Mid-October Book Review: Writing review.

Taking a step back…

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend! 😀

I know it’s normally Romance Weekly Hop day today, but due to the bank holiday there is no post this week. Though if you’re interested in checking out the hop, it starts with Nina Mason. It’s all about first kisses!

So, I so have to admit I was really glad for the long weekend as I was completely stuck on a scene in my book when writing on Friday. I had NO idea where to take it and I think I tried to rewrite it in about ten different ways, seeing how it would best to write it in order to move the story and characters forward.

Well, it was hard and it was just not going to happen!

So, over the weekend I didn’t touch my writing. But, as if often the case, I couldn’t stop thinking about 😀 I went over and over it in my head trying to figure out how to write this rather crucial scene which is a turning point in the story.

All weekend I still had nothing

Zip.

Zero.

Nadda.

I was having a slight panic when I went to bed last night thinking I’d have no idea where to go when writing today, and this is my last week to get the first draft finished!

And then at about 3 o’clock this morning it came to me! I was tossing and turning trying to think of this scene and just couldn’t sleep and the solution came out of nowhere. I mean, it was something I hadn’t even thought of, something so completely different to what I’d come up with so far.

And it was absolutely perfect!

It just made me realise what a good idea it is to take a long step back from your writing sometimes if you’re struggling. I think I got myself so focused on the scene and the little picture, that I forgot to look at the whole thing.

So, this morning I sat down to write and managed to pump out about 3,000 words in an hour and half! I was on a roll and it felt really, really good 😀

Have you ever been really stuck on a scene? How do you deal when you get stuck? Do you ever have to take a break from your writing to look at it fresh?

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 3188 (Total word count: 39698).

Books read: 5/4

End of August Indie Review: Written and ready.

Rekindling my Love for Love!

My next book is going to be packed full of romance.

Why?

Because I want it to be 😀

I love romance, hence why I write it, but my last couple of books have had heavy stories to go along with romance. And I’d say they were romance of a different kind- a passionate, heavy romance.

This time I want something light and romantic.

So, I wanted to write a book where romance was going to be the main theme of the story. But, it’s also going to be a contemporary piece and I haven’t written a chick-lit type book before. So I needed to get into the mood for writing it.

I scoured the kindle store for books in that genre, but also I watched a lot of romance movies.

I have to say, they really did help me get in the right frame of mind 😀 As I said in my Romance Weekly post last week, I am very inspired by the visual.

I watched Austenland, which was just beyond awesome!

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Then I had an overload on Jane Austen, watching Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Next up was While You were Sleeping and Penelope.

I have to admit, I was a bit de-motivated when I started writing my book, as I enjoyed writing in the fantasy genre so much. But watching these movies and reading that type of story reminded me exactly why I planned this book next.

Because I love every moment of those fun romantic movies! Every stolen glance, every damsel-in-distress moment, and every inevitable kiss in the rain! 😀

My next book is going to be a light, fun read where the romance genre in movies and books is heavily involved in the storyline, so watching and reading this type of genre has been perfect for getting me in the right frame of mind.

Let’s call it research! Very necessary research.

I always forget just how much the right mind-set can help to give me motivation to keep writing!

If you’re finding yourself a bit stuck in your story or not motivated, pick up a book in the same genre or watch a movie and remind yourself why you chose that genre. Reigniting your love of that type of story can be an amazing way exciting your creativity to keep writing!

Do you sometimes have to re-find your love of a genre? Do you always read within a specific genre? Are there any books or movies that instantly get you in the mood for writing?

Progress Report:

Status of Fifth Manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 2395 (Total word count: 24770)

Books read: 3/4

End of August indie book review: Written and ready.

Where oh where to write?

I wrote a post quite some time back about the space where I write (in my living room, on my sofa, usually next to my dog!).

But as I’ve focused more on turning my writing into a serious career, it’s becoming more and more obvious that I am going to need a space of my own to write.

I am one of those people who can’t write unless it’s quiet, and you can certainly tell the difference in the quality of my writing between when it’s quiet and when it’s noisy 😀

Yet, the more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I realise how many considerations need to be thought of!

It may sound silly, but I like to have my dog with me when I write, hence why I write in the living room. And, although I am lucky enough to have a large bedroom that I could turn half of into an office space, I don’t want to confine my dog to my room all day, not when she likes to wander in and out of the garden. So, for now, my room’s not an option.

We don’t, unfortunately, have any spare rooms either.

The living room is surprisingly noisy, even when there aren’t many people around.

It has been suggested a construction at the bottom of the garden might work, which is tempting. I have seen a few other writers’ blog about their writing space which is contained to a summer house-type building in their garden. It would also mean I could have my dog with me.

But looking at these constructions and mainly their price tag, it was a little bit of a shocker 😀

So, I guess for now I will have to stick to the living room. But I am putting some questions out to the blogging/writing community in hope you might be able to help:

What do you do to find the space you need to write?

Do you have any tips on creating a writing space in less than ideal circumstances?

What is your writing space like?

I have some posts scheduled over the weekend but won’t be back until Monday to answer comments and email 🙂 I’m also still having some difficulty with my computer, so please bear with me!

Have a great weekend!

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 6618 (Total word count: 22375)

Books read: 3/4

End of August indie book review: Written and ready.

Now let’s try it that way…

I realised something recently about my planning process.

For each book I have written so far, I have planned them each with a different technique.

I haven’t done this on purpose 😀 It is just something that has happened naturally as I started to plan.

It was an interesting observation about my planning style that I didn’t really notice until today. Possibly it’s because I write different sub-genres and it works better in my head for certain genres to be planned out certain ways.

Stolen Bloodline: I didn’t have much of a plan at all, I wrote scenes that I liked and then worked them all together.

The Queen’s Jester: I made an incredibly detailed bullet point plan that had every single scene and moment detailed on it.

Jesterplan

Heart of the Arena: I did something similar to The Queen‘s Jester, but the bullet point style was loose, only detailing big scenes and not specific moments.

heartplan

Prophecy of Stones: I planned out like a map. The characters go on a quest-style journey, so I plotted out the map and the route they would take, then I noted down what happened at each location on the map.

mapplan

For my next book (number 5!): I have taken the approach of noting down scenes on notelets and spreading them out on the floor.

Obviously there are a lot more notelets than this! But you get the idea.

Obviously there are a lot more notelets than this! But you get the idea.

The notelets have been brilliant as I have been able to see the gaps where I need to fill in scenes or link scenes together, but I’m not sure it would have suited the way I approached writing my other books. These different ways of planning have certainly showed me how much variety and individuality there is in the writing process, and it makes me wonder how I will plan out book number 6 😀

So my tip for the day is: If you ever feel stuck or get a bit of writer’s block, it might be worth trying out a different method of plotting a scene, short story, book, poem, etc. You never know if looking at it in a different way might just jog something new 🙂

Have you tried out different planning methods? Do you use one method that works for you all the time? Do you have any planning tips or tricks for others?

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Writing first draft.

Word count: 5100 (Total word count: 8863).

Books read: 3/4

Mid-August book review: Written and ready.

Oh, that’s your name too, is it? And yours as well?!

nname

Coming up with character names can be an interesting and fun thing to do. I like to find names with meaning, a name that represents some part of the character’s personality or appearance. I don’t know why, it’s just something I am keen on doing 😀

But I’ve noticed something happening.

After I find these great unique names, suddenly, I see them EVERYWHERE!

I chose the name Otto for one of the characters in my current book, and I was rather pleased with myself for finding a simple, yet interesting name I hadn’t heard of before.

Then, the very next day on a forum, I see the name pop up for someone’s pet. I then hear it for a character on TV.

I had never even known of that name before, then I heard it twice the next day 😀

This has now happened a few times with unusual character names. Maybe I’d heard them before but hadn’t taken notice? Possibly I’m being hyper-aware after spending so long searching for the name? Whatever it is, it’s something that always seems to happen lately.

For my next book, I am using relatively common names to suit the contemporary setting, so I’m not so worried. But in the future if do another fantasy, maybe I will just have to make up names from scratch!

Has this ever happened to you? Do you like using character names with meaning? Do you make up names or use real ones?

Progress Report:

Status of Fourth Manuscript: With the readers (2/3 returned). Cover done, blurb written.

Books read: 2/4

July eBook review: Written and ready.

Argh!

I am sorry for not posting yesterday and for not getting back to comments and emails! My internet decided to break on Tuesday night and they couldn’t get a technician in to fix it until this morning (he was rather nice on the eyes though, so I didn’t mind that he took his time, he also smelt gorgeous!).

Anyway!

I think I have managed to catch up 😀

As today is re-blog day but re-blog is still not liking me, I am linking to two posts that I think are really worth reading 🙂

http://faithsimone.com/2014/07/16/descriptive-writing-tip/ – Great writing tip!

http://eightladieswriting.com/2014/07/17/michille-caples-archetypes/ – A post that really got me thinking about the way I plan characters.

Have a great day 🙂

Progress Report:

Status of Fourth Manuscript: With the readers (2/3 returned). Cover finished. Blurb written!- I really like being ahead of schedule 😀

Books read: 2/4

July eBook review: Written and ready.

Romance Weekly #lovewritechat

It’s Tuesday and you know what that means: Romance Weekly Blog Hop!

RW Banner

If you’re joining me from Meggan Connors then hello and welcome! 🙂

Now, let’s see what questions we have this week.

1. How often do you write?

5 days a week, usually for around 2-3 hours, though I am hoping to gradually increase the amount of hours I write.

I write Monday-Friday, and take weekends off, so as I can avoid burning out. But, if I am behind schedule then I will write on weekends too.

2. Do you think it’s important to your craft to write as much as you can, and as often as you can?

Yes, otherwise how would writers improve and discover new techniques? 😀 The way I try to develop my skill is by writing different things: short stories, fan fiction, blog posts, non-fiction and even poetry sometimes.

When I find new advice from another writer, I am always keen to try it out and see if it works for me. I keep a variety of notebooks scattered about that I can grab when an idea strikes, and I just jot down a scene or short story when I can, not just because it helps improve my writing, but also because it’s fun!

Kinda like how artists often do doodles or sketches. I think any little thing you can do helps 🙂

3. What is your opinion on the saying, ‘If you don’t write every day, you’re not a writer’?

I don’t believe that. Writers have to have a life too 😀 You’re a writer if you love to write, no matter how much you get to do it.

Another set of interesting questions this week, how would answer them?

Now let’s go check out what the fabulous Leslie Hachtel has to say in response.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Romance Weekly Giveaway!

Progress Report:

Status of Fourth Manuscript: With the readers (2/3 returned).

Books read: 1/4

July eBook review: Written and ready.