Grammarly et al

I’ve fallen in love with Grammarly, an app extension of Google Chrome but also available in Windows. It seems to work really well and monitors your use of grammar and spelling, even on those websites which don’t normally spell check for you. (Something I have found to be essential in recent years). On initial set-up, you advise it to use either UK English or the USA English dictionary, alleviating a source of irritation that most spell checkers present to UK writers.

The added bonus is that it checks the grammar too, so the occasional incorrect word use is highlighted immediately. In effect, it’s doing a form of first line proofreading for you.

It’s available to use in its free version but enhanced features are added if you subscribe  to the Premium, where it monitors many more areas of your text including sentence structure and writing style issues.

Have a look at the website

I think you may like it too (No I’m not on commission)


61,000 and Counting

The novel, started during NaNoWriMo, continues to keep me writing and as the story unfolds I am loving it. I’ve begun waking every morning, filled with new ideas and a strong desire to jump on the laptop and just write. This is the first novel I’ve started, and over the years I’ve started a few, which isn’t drying up but continues to flow. I stumbled a little in the middle of the month and one day, in particular, it was very hard to write anything at all. It was like my brain just couldn’t make it to where I wanted to be. So I skipped that part and wrote further down the line and then, suddenly, it came to me and I wrote some scenes which joined everything together.

I don’t need to maintain the pace of before but, strangely enough, I am. I would like to get the first draft done before Christmas and then I can relax and enjoy the festivities but it really doesn’t matter if I don’t. The main thing is to finish it, put it away for a couple of months, come back to it and read it with fresh eyes.

Since winning in NaNo, I’ve gone back already and added scenes which will become apparent later in the story. Luckily Scrivener allows that to be done really easily. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be, with this amount of word count, working in a single Word or Libre Office document. Scrivener is the best money I have ever spent on writing software.

So it’s onward and upward


‘Read a lot, write a lot, always’

 Stephen King

Today I hit the 50,000 words plus barrier at NaNoWriMo. In fact, I finished today on 52,105 words with nine days to spare. Big sighs of relief all round. This year, however, I intend to continue with my novel as I feel it needs completing. The characters  are still growing and telling me the story so I’ve settled on trying to pound out an achievable 2,000 words a day, as there is so much still to be said.

In previous years I’ve stopped once I’d finished writing in November, thinking that was my achievement done for the year. What I actually discovered was that walking away from the story allowed it to die, as I went on to other projects. Flitting about like a butterfly. I then found it impossible to get back into the story and into the heads of the protagonists and my muse left me, staring at a jumble of words. So this time I plan to keep going and to keep the characters alive. At 52,000 words I don’t feel  I am even half way towards my novel’s first draft and I have set my goal at completing that.

I don’t know what will happen but I am resolved to write something every day, and continue to build it into a completed first draft. It’s a good feeling to complete the November challenge but this year I shall keep it going.

Good luck to all others out there, still writing and heading to 50,000. I’m  with you and will continue updating my word count until the end. Keep it up you’re doing great.

Story in 50 Words – Writing 101 – Day 12

He leaned on the shovel and blew the cigarettes smoke high into the atmosphere. He was surrounded by bodies but no one spoke. Nobody nagged him about his smoking habit or his scruffy clothes, like his wife used to. She was close but was quiet.

He loved being a grave digger

Expand a Link – Writing 101 – Day 8


Quite some time ago now I entered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The first time I wasn’t really prepared and failed miserably but the second time, in 2013, I managed to win. I even completed it with a whole day to spare.

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a where writers, from across the globe, spend the month of November writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Easy-peasy you say. That’s only 1666.66 words a day, you say. Well I found it hard to achieve as life has a habit of getting in the way and it’s easy to fall behind. I’m still proud of my efforts, although the 51,106 words are still sitting on my hard drive awaiting attention.

When I eventually do return to my November 2013 labours I’ll have a basis of the novel  already written, after some editing and adding, of course. Another great thing about the experience is the knowledge that there are thousands of other writers, out there, feeling the same pressures. I know from some of the comments I received to my blog post at the time. Also some of the answers I gave to the comments I got.

There are local, to you, groups who meet throughout the month of November, in coffee shops, who work together for a few hours or just enjoy the experience of talking about their project. I also had a really good writing buddy, who I met via the site. (I mean met digitally, we never actually met face to face) and she was a great source of encouragement to me. I think that I was to her too

If you are considering joining the thousands of other, like-minded writers then head across to the NaNoWriMo website

It’s a great experience and every year since I’ve thought ‘Shall I do it again this year?’

Maybe I will

Done, But What Have I Learned?


Last night I completed NaNoWriMo with a day to spare. I can now luxuriate today in the thought that the marathon is over.  I was always confident that, baring disasters, I will be a winner this year. It’s been hard to focus my attention but I’ve managed to write everyday, which for me, has been the main point of the exercise. But with all things complete or incomplete I ask myself what have I learned from it? 

  • That I can write a high word count in a short time and have a life as well
  • I can write without the constant procrastination exercise of going back and editing all the time.
  • That my fingers, wrists, arms and shoulders are still working after all that exercise
  • That determination overcomes procrastination
  • It’s a great idea to have a writing buddy as mine has been very supportive throughout and seeing her word count rise kept me going at times

I think now, in the afterglow, that it has enabled me to write every day again, as I did before I lost my enthusiasm which, I still believe, stemmed from last years failure in this event.

The final question, of course is, would I do it again? My answer today is probably not but we’ll have to see next year I suppose.

Would you winners out there do it again?

NaNoWriMo – Day 15

I´m still in the hunt for that winners badge this year. I’ve suffered none of last year’s stutters and procrastination. I get up and write for an hour or so first thing and sometimes some later in the day when I can snatch the time. I have almost cured myself of the habit of constant revision but the lure still attracts me occasionally. Writing short stories, I´m always re-reading the text as I write but last year I did that with the novel and fell behind almost from day one but I’ve realised that the spirit of the event is to get the words on the page and not worry about them being the perfect words.

I´m fast approaching 35,000 words now and feeling confident at the moment, and although there are still some hills to climb I can just about see the summit from here.