A New Challenge

Part of the reason I wanted to finish the first draft of my current novel by the end of February was because I knew I was participating in a challenge in March.

The challenge is NaNoRenNo.

It’s kind of like the normal NaNoWriMo, but instead of producing a 50,000+ novel, you produce a completed visual novel.

For those that don’t know what a visual novel is here’s the Wikipedia definition-

‘A visual novel is an interactive fiction game, featuring mostly static graphics, most often using anime-style art or occasionally live-action stills (and sometimes video footage). As the name might suggest, they resemble mixed-media novels.’

It’s a different kind of storytelling that instantly caught my interest for a few reasons:

1. Any form of storytelling is good with me 😀
2. I adore Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books.
3. I love gaming, so being able to take some aspects of it and add it to my own story is awesome!
4. Really being able to bring the story to life through both writing and art.

I’ve always had a dream of creating a comic, because of the mixture of writing and drawing- I love the two!- But I was never patient enough to complete a whole comic.

With visual novels I get to draw the art (though not anime-style as is usual), and also add more writing than I would in a comic. I am not even kidding about how perfect a medium that is for me 😀

So my project this month is to complete a visual novel, and see how it goes. Also, I will say that visual novels are something I hope to look into producing and selling along with my novels in the future.

For those interested, I will detail the visual novel I am producing below 🙂

Sorry for the white backgrounds on the art, WordPress apparently doesn’t like transparent images!

TitleForum

When underwater archaeologist, Quinn, discovers an artifact in the ruins she is exploring just offshore, she doesn’t realise the significance of it.
At least, not until she comes face to face with the owner of the artifact… who happens to have a tail.

Introduced to the world of the Merpeople, Quinn must keep the exciting discovery quiet in order to protect their secrets, all whilst dealing with new feelings that are stirring towards her merman guide, Merrik.
If that wasn’t difficult enough, she must contend with the persistent interference of a dangerous treasure hunter searching for his next big prize.

And Quinn is all too aware that the Merpeople would be his perfect target.

Characters

quinnquinnuw
Quinn Lanton
The main character of this tale, a woman whose curiosity helps her to find the biggest discovery of all time, only to realise she must keep it a secret.

Her personality can be defined by the player through dialogue and action choices, which will affect the way characters react to her and the outcome of the ending.

merrik
Merrik
Merrik is happy to live his life in the safety of the sea, but meeting Quinn changes things.
Now the merman finds his position as Guardian of the artifact tested as he navigates through the world of humans and their greed for what does not belong to them.

waltonspritesg
Walton Huntley
An ex-archaeologist turned treasure hunter. His only interest is the next big prize and the fortune he could get for it.

The Artefact

Artefact

Diving in Deep is going to focus on romance (obviously 😀 It’s what I write!), but will also have a good amount of excitement and action so hopefully all can enjoy it! It will be FREE, so I’m hoping lots of people will be willing to try it out.

Though I realise this may not be the kind of thing some people would go for, I am hoping to open up this form of storytelling to those who might not even have known about it, and maybe get them to try out something new 🙂

Is this something you’d be willing to try out? Does this interest you as a different form of story?

*This is a scheduled post, I will be back on Tuesday. Hope everyone has a brilliant weekend! :D*

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Books and Reading Thursday: Two birds, one stone…

So, as you might have read, I have currently been reading and completing the first practical writing craft book on my TBR list.

And I have to say it’s brilliant! The confidence it has boosted in me as a writer is amazing, and it’s really helping me to see what I’m capable of.

In fact, it has been so awesome I have made the decision to always have a writing craft book on the go.

Now, I have said before that I’m not very good at reading two books at a time, but seeing as I will be reading a fiction and non-fiction, I think I can probably manage that. It will also mean I will be able to get through my TBR list a little faster!

I will also be doing it this way partly so as I can get back to reading fiction, which I am really missing! I will be reading the next book on my list, which is The Woodcutter by Kate Danley, which I will do a post about another week.

To any writers reading this, I highly recommend trying out some practical writing exercises either by finding them online or by getting a book. My word, I cannot begin to say the amount of confidence in my abilities it has given me!


Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft again, finally!
Word count: 2523

Books read towards challenge: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Back to the beginning…

Do you ever read a manuscript or piece of work you’ve written and think, ‘Something’s just not right…’ Then spend weeks trying to work out what it is, and usually it’s one small thing, but you know that one small thing means you will have to re-write the entire thing?

Well, guess what…

It’s happened to me 😀

I have been struggling and struggling to finish my current manuscript. I knew it wasn’t the characters, it wasn’t the story, and it wasn’t the setting. Everything was great, in fact, I am really proud of what I’ve come up with.

But it was how I had laid out the story.

It was wrong, and just wasn’t working.

So, although it’s hard to get rid of over 50,000 words of work, I’m going to have to do it.

I will be starting from scratch, working out a better plan and beginning again.

It’s going to be tough and hard work, but it needs to be done. Deep down I know how amazing this story will be with this one change, even if it means starting over everything again. Back to the beginning for me!

But, it’s going to be worth it!

Now to hit that, ‘Delete’ button… Urgh!

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Going back to the beginning! – Planning.
Total word count: 0.

Books read towards goal: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

I have a confession to make…

So this week was my first week back after my long break- a break which was much needed and I was glad I took.

But I have to admit after such a while away from writing I was seriously nervous about getting back to actual writing.

At the beginning of the week I wasn’t even been able to look at the manuscript I’d been working on before Christmas.

Why?

I have no idea 😀

I was just really nervous about starting writing again. I’m sure a lot of it was to do with the fact I had such a long break, in which I only did tiny bits of writing here and there, all of which had nothing to do with the story I’m currently working on.

The thing is, it wasn’t even as though I had to start from a blank page. I am nearly finished with my current manuscript, it’s just the last few chapters that need doing, and I know exactly how they are going to go.

But mid-week, I pushed myself past the irrational worry of writing again and got out the folder with all my plans and inspiration sheets.

Well, it was an almost instant reaction.

I flicked through my chapter plans, my character sheets, my pictures and BAM! The excitement flooded back to me!

That intense excitement and passion that came flooding back to me in that moment drowned out any worry I had about writing after such a long break, and I opened up my manuscript and got straight back to it!

And it has been so good getting back to it! I forgot how much I need to write 😀 It was instant relief, and I got so into it I looked up at my clock a while after and three and a half hours had whipped by without me noticing!

Next week I will go back to having my status reports beneath my posts, as they always helped me keep focus and see if I was achieving my goals. My daily word count target during weekdays will still be 2000 words, and as with last year I will be taking weekends off.

So here’s to another great year of writing for us all!

Have you ever had trouble getting back into writing? How do you get your writing skills back into shape? Have you set yourself any daily word count goals?

*This is a scheduled post and I will be back on Monday to reply to comments and emails. Have a great weekend!*

On to 2015!

So, here we are- The beginning of a fresh New Year.

I hope everyone had a brilliant Christmas and a great start to 2015 🙂

I thought about doing a round up post for 2014, but when I look back on it I was pretty overwhelmed. Not only did I achieve so much that I’m proud of, but I met so many incredible new friends and authors!

In December I did sit down and think about where I was heading in 2015, and how I was going to get there. 2014 was great, but I will admit I was all over the place. It was my first year at writing, blogging, publishing, reviewing, etc!

This time around I feel a little calmer and organised about it all 😀 I have a good plan going forwards.

Last year I got caught up in trying everything and, though it was great to learn so much, I need a more streamlined approach going forwards.

I have a new blogging schedule planned, a better timetable for publishing my books, ideas for improving my writing, but the main thing that caught me last year and gave me unbelievable amounts of stress…

Marketing.

Ah, yes. Marketing.

It really was a hate/hate relationship. I didn’t like doing it, you guys don’t like reading or seeing it 😀

So, this year, I have decided to take a different strategy for it. I realise it has to be done, but why should it give me such intense grief as it did last year? So, I have a much better plan in store for that, which involves focusing much more on reviews and visual marketing, trying to make it more fun rather than a chore.

Before this turns into an essay, I will just say that I am back and raring to go for 2015! I think it’s going to be an excellent year for us all!

I am gradually catching up with everyone’s blogs, which I have missed reading 🙂

So, whilst I catch up and try to get back into the routine, I hope you all have a fantastic start to the New Year and have already made great progress!

How was Christmas? Did you have a good start to the New Year?

October 2014 Round-Up and November 2014 Plan

October was certainly an interesting month. I spent most of it trying to figure out my new schedule of less social media and more writing.

I did OK to start with, but then I found my hours creeping up again on social media. I am certainly going to have to be stricter with myself.

October:

– Didn’t exactly keep to schedule. Got most things done on time, but not others.
– Started my new Books on my Bookshelf series.
– Got my first reviews for The Magic Spark.
– Didn’t meet my reading target. Though I was only off by about half a book 😀 Forbidden Quest by Alaina Stanford, Reunion of the Heart by Elaine Jeremiah, and Hands of Evil by Melissa Barker-Simpson.
– Attempted to cut my social media right down and concentrate on the writing. Started well, but hasn’t been so successful towards the end of the month.
– I did some marketing using photosets, but still not enough.
– Managed to connect with bloggers regularly, and share their posts and news on Twitter and FB more consistently.
– I didn’t manage to sort out my Pinterest boards.

November:

It’s all change for November yet again to what I intended last time.

Unfortunately, there will be no Christmas novella. As much as I want to write it, I am just not in a place to do so at the moment. There is a lot of upheaval at home and things moving around, which will eventually result in a writing space of my own. But until then, I don’t really have anywhere that I can go to focus on writing.

I am one of those writers who needs quiet and peace to write 😀 And I just can’t get that at the moment, and my writing is suffering for it. I don’t want to put out a book that is less than my best, so I’ve decided to wait (though I will probably do the Christmas novella for next year because the characters and plots are just too awesome to forget!).

Instead this months goal is: To write 500 words a day.

Doesn’t matter what it is- short fiction, long fiction, fanfiction, poetry, as long as it’s something. I may not have the space to concentrate on a full book, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop writing altogether, I love it too much to do that 😀

November will be about writing practice, which is just as important as anything else! But it will also give me more time to help at home and eventually get this writing space up together, which I am VERY excited about 🙂

As for reading this month, I plan to read three books: The Masked Empire by Patrick Weekes, Asunder by David Gaider (re-read that one, as I’ve read it before!), and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients by Rod Raglin (for review group). Those are the only ones that I will definitely be reading, and any extra will be a bonus 😀

That means no reviews except my review group one this month, and none in December either. My normal reading and reviews will resume in January 2015 (a scary thought to think that’s not so far away!).

So, there you have it. This post was a lot longer than intended, sorry!

**TL;DR – No Christmas novella due to a lot of stuff going on. Tons of writing practice instead this month! Back to book writing in the New Year.**

Other things that happened around the writing/blogging community this month:

Callum McLaughlin released his new book, False Awakening!

Topaz Winters has a beautiful new look to her site.

EclecticAlli has been hosting a brilliant set of posts for her Masquerade Ball Blog Party.

Natacha Guyot announced an exciting new project she’s working on!

Island of Glass by Ruth Nestvold is at a lowered price until Mid-November!

My Creative Flows blog had a great post on tips for those participating in NaNo and how to get through it! 😀

Oh, also, to all those actually participating in NaNoWriMo this month- Good Luck! 😀

How did your October go? Do you have many plans for November?

It’s time!

I find myself at a point in my book that is both thrilling and slightly nerve-wracking.

As I’ve said, I’ve had this series in my mind for a while, and there is one scene particularly that has always been certain and always the same.

I have come to the point in my book to write that scene; a scene that has been in my head for a couple of years.

It’s a pretty intense scene, emotionally and physically.

Yes, this is just the first draft, and yes, I can sort it out later if it’s not perfect. But for some reason I have this feeling that I have to get it right first time, because it’s the pivotal scene in this first book of the series.

I mean, thinking on it for two years I should be able to knock it out in no time, but when I came to write all I did was just stared at the screen!

But it’s time to just do it, and today is the day!

I am going to write it, it’s going to be awesome, and this scene can finally leave my head and hit the page!

Have you guys ever had a scene you’re hesitant about writing? Have you ever come to write a scene you’ve been thinking of for some time? How do you approach writing such intense scenes?

Have a great weekend everyone!