NaNoWriMo Approaches

It’s that time of year again. The time when I decide whether or not to take up the November writing challenge. I did it last year, won and have spent ever since trying to make my effort into something readable. I’m still working on it and its grown to over 90,000 words as I try to get it to a suitable ending.

In the past, I’ve always struggled to start or got bogged down in the middle somewhere. Lost focus or lost interest or just found that time had overtaken me and then it was difficult to get started again. I’ve been lucky to be able to use Scrivener to break it up into manageable chunks and lately I’ve started using Ulysses, which does the same but in a different way. In fact, I’m writing this in Ulysses as it allows me to post straight into WordPress and onto my blog. Easy.

I need to make up my mind shortly though as that will give me time to research and plan during October. Although I’m pretty sure that things will be busy for me in that month so as you can see. I’m a long way from deciding as we head towards the end of September. Have to wait and see I suppose.

If I abandon my 90,000+ word project for a couple of months whilst I indulge myself on NaNoWriMo will I ever start it again? On the other hand, if I do that and then come back to it will reading it again guide me to a suitable ending? Dilemma – I’ll let you know.

Life after Writing 101

Well it’s Sunday morning and Writing 101 is over. To be honest, it all seems a bit flat today. After four weeks of trying to interpret a different prompt each day, I look at my email inbox and something is missing and that’s not quite right.

Maybe it’s also because I’m going home today too. Spending a week and a half, juggling various internet connections in bars, restaurants or wherever I could get online. Using my laptop, tablet and phone to make sure I managed to post something as near to the allotted day. Losing posts as the phone or tablet kicked me out of the App for some, as yet, unexplained reason. This evening I will be back in the bosom of my high speed, unlimited WiFi filled home but will removing some of the past few days obstacles make a difference?

You bet it will !! Bring it on because as they say ‘Home is where the WiFi is’

The Space to Write – Writing 101 – Day 6

Writingpic

My writing habits are pretty simple. I write where and when I can, usually early morning as I’m an early riser and my wife isn’t. I don’t have a dedicated space, though, as I use a lap-top computer so anywhere will do. I do, however, prefer to sit at the dining room table and I like to work alone and in silence. Free from all distractions.

I’ve read several books which have all talked about getting into the writing habit. To be successful and prolific, you need a dedicated space and time. I’m told that using this method enables the mind to accept that this is the time and place to write and it helps to condition the brain. I haven’t got to that stage yet but I am trying to get there.

I’m normally writing by eight am but I only really manage a couple of hours before the day intervenes. When I was younger I would often work late into the night; sometimes all night but often the work I produced wasn’t of good quality so much of my time was wasted. I am, very much, a ‘morning person’. That doesn’t mean that all my inspiration comes during that time but it’s when I feel, mentally, at my best. My dining room window looks out onto the rear garden and, at this time of year, it’s very green. I find it restful.

I do have a problem with procrastination though. I fire up my computer and firstly check my emails (At the moment to see what today’s challenge is) but sometimes I get side tracked by them. It’s also quite difficult not to look at social media sites as then the couple of hours which I dedicate to writing each morning are hastily devoured by them. I’ve also developed a habit of editing as I go which slows the process down considerably but, again, this is a work in progress. Like most things I do

The Fragility of Confidence

 

It’s a strange thing, confidence. It hangs by a thread most of the time and it only takes something very small to break that thread and send the shield  crashing to the ground.

 

I’ve been researching possible paying markets for short stories recently and also thought I might try some article writing for the web. There are hundreds of such markets if you take the trouble to look for them.

https://duotrope.com is one source which lists them and there’s plenty of listings to choose from. So a couple of months ago I decided to enter two stories into two separate on-line competitions. What the hell, I have nothing to lose, I told myself. Strangely, although I do have nothing to lose I’ve kept a close watch on my emails. Just in case; you never know.

Last week I received a very polite email advising me that I had not been short listed for one competition and today I received a similar one from the second completion. It really knocked my confidence. Even though I know my writing isn’t good enough to win anything or get published, and I’ve said many times that I love the process of writing; It’s a hobby I enjoy. So why should I be bothered? It’s not as though it’s my first rejection.

I generally don’t lack confidence. I regularly deliver presentations to large groups of people so I don’t think that’s it and I don’t think I’m feeling particularly sorry for myself either. It certainly won’t stop me blogging or competing in NaNoWriMo (Only 13 days to go!) or writing my almost finished novel or anything that pops into my head but, this time, I felt the rejection.

It won’t last long

Take care of your confidence, it’s a very complex and fragile thing

Characterisation

I don’t know about you but most of my stories are about people. They have major and minor characters and between them they carry the plot forward. Yet I become confused by the arguments around character led or plot led stories, as though one isn’t integral to the other. It’s become a bit more involved for me since I’ve devoted much more of my time to writing my first novel. A novel which, incidentally, began a couple of years ago as an idea for a short story and has now blossomed into a 50,000 word first draft, which is increasing every day. It’s only a first draft, I hear you say, but I’ve never got this far before with a single project.

It’s the experience of writing more than a 5,000 word story which has made me realise that not only does the plot change as I write more words but characters change their significance too. They take on their own persona and begin to tell me what they intend to do next. It’s very strange but it makes it really exciting. So when my wife asks What is xxx going to do next? And I say I don’t really know. I don’t.

This has always happened to me in short stories but no to the extent it is doing at the moment. I am beginning to allow the characters a bit more of a free rein and I’ve even changed a minor character, who briefly appears at the beginning of the story, into quite a major player as the story has progressed.

Luckily, as I write in Scrivener, it’s very easy to add to the characters profile and weave their lives into the story as it progresses.

It’s like a magical experience in which I’m only playing a part in. The Characters and the story dictate to me what will happen.

Does this happen to you too?