Sunday, 21 August 2011

Writing progress is slow?

It’s funny but I’m beginning to realise that sometimes I’m quite hard on myself and feel that I have not achieved very much with my writing. And then I make myself write a list and realise that subconsciously I have been working towards a single goal from many angles. So what did I achieve this/last week?

• I submitted my first #SampleSunday: ‘Adrenalin-rush’ on Twitter via my Blog
• I edited John’s work
• I edited Mike’s work (They edit my work in return, which I find invaluable)
• I reviewed two chapters of my novel based on edit comments rec’d.
• I wrote a brand new short story that desperately needs a good title and a final edit
• I read ‘Bread Alone’ by Judith R Hendricks
• I am reading and writing a review for a friend’s new book
(I owe a couple of other reviews too for books that I’ve recently finished.)
• I bought 2 books no - 21 actually! - I buy second hand childrens books for my niece &
nephew as English is their second language. Really looking forward to reading, ‘How to
train your Dragon!’
• I downloaded six free classics to my iPad for summer reading ‘when I have a moment’
mostly Austen & Brontës.
• I watched the Blind Side (listening to dialogue tunes in the ear. There are some lines
in this film that, damn I wish I’d thought of them first…)
• I wrote today’s blog entry
• I read other peoples blogs via my twitter feed and promoted the interesting ones
• And finally I wrote my aunt a family letter

And there I was thinking that I hadn’t done any writing!

But it dawned on me while I was writing this post that I have (unintentionally) stopped submitting my work and perhaps that’s why I think I’m not writing enough.

So as August draws to a close and merges into September I have to bite the bullet and start to submit my work for publication, again. Perhaps enter a competition or two… and find a new platform or outlet for some of my short stories.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

If anyone, especially those of you who write, has bright ideas on how they track their personal progress I’d love to hear them, it would be nice to know if other writers are as haphazard in their approach to writing as I am or more focused and dedicated and how they achieve this goal.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

#SampleSunday: My first attempt

To my readers: Where would you, my reader, like this story to go next?
As I’m open to suggestions… and is there anything specific missing?


There is no room for error. But I have a choice. I can hook my motorbike into the bend and nail this corner. Or, the twist of this turn can mug me. Then I’ll slide down the tarmac on my arse. I wince at the prospect. This is no soft option. My knee is so close to the surface as I allow my bike to run back out close to the edge of the kerb. Heart pounding. Adrenalin pumping. I tuck my body in low. The engine clamped firm between my thighs screams. Vibrates through my slender frame.

Pitting my wits against this road. Pitting myself against this machine. Pitting my machine against this surface.

I adore the way my body feels as I find the slip stream. And open her up. In the blink of an eye the tarmac vanishes beneath these tyres. I fly. Exhilarated. Bike well balanced. I blip the throttle. Faster. And faster. Racing for the hell of it. I focus. My bike leans left, knee down, I drive it deeper down on the brakes. Run through the bend, then hang wide. Take the corner real quick. I love to do this.

I get a rush as I gamble. Pick up speed. I stand the bike up and push it harder. Go for it. Race my heart out. I’m riding the wheels right out from under me. The knot in my stomach, tauter than a fisted ball, tightens. It’s one of the greatest feelings I know.

Another inside turn excites me, elevates my good mood. Addictive. Irresistible. The bike comes upright. I take my foot off the peg. Playing devils advocate I dodge in and out as I charge past cars, and race up the steep incline, find a space, tuck myself in tight and make the next turn. Then tear down the hill into a harsh left hander.

The hedgerow flies passed me blurring in a haze of smudged greenery. Trying to get on the turn quicker, faster than I should. My thighs tingle, I try to ignore this sensation. Shake myself free. Feeling loose the Ducate whines. I test my nerve. Flick the bike through a double right hander. It responds, twitches. Brakes off. I fly. Lick my lips. Savour the salt. Dicing with death. It’s dangerous but I’m buzzing, I feel so alive.

Off the brakes, another tough left hander. On the brakes, then open her up as the straight opens before me, beckons me on. Throttle fully open I speed into the danger zone. I spot the police car too late. Crap. I jam on the brakes. The back tyre convulses as I loose speed in rapid quick time and come to an abrupt stop.

Sitting upright in the saddle. I release the handle bars. Clutch the bike tight between my thighs and punch the air in anger. But maybe I can get away with it again? Will he be okay? Change his mind when I take off my helmet? Perhaps the last thing this officer expects… is me.

When I take off my lid, I flick my locks, loosen the mane, and allow it to fall casually across my shoulders. Smile. A big broad flashy grin. I usually get a look of surprise, followed by a quick nod of approval. Then I have to react fast. Bat my long lashes and perhaps unzip my jacket real slow, flash some cleavage? Look up from under my fluttering eyelashes again? It might work. Buy myself a get out of jail card so to speak…

I wait, hold my breath, and then breathe out slow because I recognise the officer walking towards me. I dip my head and smile, a quite smirk of relief. This should be fun.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

So how is your writing progressing?

I’m making steady progress despite a major wobble this summer. I think I got wrong footed by doubting that what I had written was any good. I’m not exactly sure how this happened but it may have been because I wasn’t feeling great physically.

So last month I changed course and started writing my new novel.

Mad? Maybe...maybe not.

As long as I have ideas I will continue to commit them to paper. It’s probably why I frequently stop work on the big stuff and write short stories too, because I can’t bear the thought that I might lose or forget a concept for a story. So it is recorded and if I’m honest maybe at a later date the ‘short’ with a small adaption could slide right into the novel.

However this time around I’m working differently trying out a new format, as there aren’t going to be any chapters… did I hear you cry in horror? It’s going to be one long piece currently divided into four sections. If I don’t try I won’t know if it works. However I can always adapt the finished book once it is written.

I’m never quite sure how my mind works but I do mull things over before I begin to write. A concept will grow organically from one small idea or overheard piece and I will play it over several times, looking at it from different angles until it fixes.

Recently I had to write a romantic tryst. For the life of me I couldn’t think of one single romantic idea! My mind went blank along with my memory banks and failed me until a week or so later an idea dropped in and made me smile.

Now why couldn’t I have come up with that idea at the drop of hat? Maybe it’s because the new book has been nurtured quietly in the back of my mind whilst I was busy and now it’s ready to be released on to the page. And perhaps I needed the perfect angle rather than an off the shelf or standard solution.

But I think I get the greatest fun from putting my new characters in to situations that make them awkward and I like to play around to see how they might react. Of course in fact the reaction is my reaction or my version of the character.

So here are a few of my rules for writing:

• Be kind to yourself.
• Write the first thought that comes into your head and let the idea run out on to the page.
• Don’t edit your thoughts or the writing yet.
• Write everyday if possible, if not possible, write as often as you can.
• Let your work rest before revising a single thing.
• Don’t limit what you write you may not know it but your thoughts may be ahead of your plans.
• Don’t worry or fret about grammar at this early stage. It can be sorted later.
• Anchor the location, describe where events occur. (I’m bad at this and I must improve!)
• Be honest: Why would others read it?

What writing rules do you live by?

Monday, 1 August 2011

These are the last of my #aros stones:

I completed the #aros challenge last month, *whoo hoo* these are the last of my stones:

A horse & gig clip-clop along the tarmac, double white lines & a blind bend hinder my progress, no chance to overtake I travel slower

The heaviness of the rain as its pelts the tarmac sends droplets bouncing upwards, forming bubbles that float across puddles

Mirror flat the waters reflections turn my world upside down, a reverse image that looks alarmingly real yet I know to be false

Heavy rain driven up the road, an incoming tide blown on by a stiff breeze, it forms a small stream that runs into an artificial lake

I’ve given myself a small pat on the back because I’m pleased that I managed to finish this challenge and enjoy the process. I hope you enjoyed reading them too.

Can’t believe it’s August!