Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Ups and Downs of a Writing Challenge

Like many others I took part in the Nanowrimo challenge last November. It was my first one, but I completed it on time at 52,000 words and boy was it an exhilarating feeling. I did hope that the 1000 word a day writing challenge would stick with me, but of course life got in the way.

I’ve had a go at Twitter writing challenges under the #1k1hr tag and find those great for belting out 1000 words. Indeed at the last one I managed 1.5k in the hour.

I am now taking part in Sally Quillford’s 80k 80 days challenge #mywyn and I am enjoying this too, apart from last Thursday, when writing my words was like wading through treacle. I thought I would share some of the things that got me going again.

1. Support from Facebook and Twitter friends and comments on my blog.

2. Writing friends’ enthusiasm for my Tanner and Rosie story – they actually want to know what happens next.

3. Writing around the subject – I wrote biographies for Tanner and Rosie.

4. Asking myself searching questions about how I wanted my characters to change on their journey through the book.

5. Thinking myself inside the skin of my characters and writing about how they were feeling at that point in the story.

6. Interviewing my characters – I pretended I was a journalist and wrote out the interviews.

My manuscript now feels back on track and stands at 31,404 words on day 28 of the 80 days. I will do it – I am determined.

Have you any other ideas to share in case I get stuck again? What works for you?

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Characters Calling and Tip for Blog Comments

Welcome to new followers. If anyone is having difficulty posting on a blog, a temporary fix is to uncheck the 'keep me signed in' box when it asks you to log in. Tip thanks to Frances Garrood on Teresa Ashby’s blog.

I have been taking part in Sally Quillford’s 80,000 words in 80 days challenge and have been writing a steady 1000+ words a day since 1 May. The wip I chose to concentrate on is Rosie’s Mystery Man, a contemporary romance.

Today I hit quite a wall and am trying to write through it. The problem is that the characters from another wip are calling me and seem louder and more insistent than Rosie and Tanner. It is all I can do not to abandon them and take up my historical again.

I’m writing this blog to ask for advice. Would a rest from Rosie do me good or is it the kiss of death for Rosie and Tanner?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Romantic Novelist Protest Blog

I watched with interest the furore about the recent article from Claudia Connell at The Daily Mail. She stereotyped all romance writers as old ladies with blue rinses, twin-sets, pearls and support stockings. Kate Johnson aka Cat Marsters urged romance writers to post photos on Twitter, Facebook and our blogs! To begin with, I thought as I was not yet a member of the RNA (hope to apply for New Writers’ Scheme next year) and not yet published, that I shouldn’t do it, but then I thought about it – I spend all of my time plotting romantic novels these days and a fair amount of my day writing them, so why not.

So here is my contribution to the protest – this is what a romantic novelist looks like. I may be into my second fifty years, but I still feel 25!

Morton Gray
Hopeful romantic!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

I’m Normal!

Its official, I’m normal. Well at least my MRI scan says my brain is healthy and quite young for my age! Seriously, it was quite a relief as I had only gone to the doctors with ringing in my ears. They wanted to rule out anything abnormal, hence the scan, but it doesn’t stop your mind working on the possibility that there might be something terribly wrong. Today I am grateful for everything because there wasn’t anything awful found, so treated myself to a nice lunch with friends (Yes, including that Ellie Swoop again). Still have the tinnitus, but I reckon I can LIVE with that.

Funny thing is I can’t stop listening to Fleetwood Mac songs now! I practice self-hypnosis and so put myself in a trance to cope with the claustrophobia of the MRI. I had chosen Fleetwood Mac to be played while I was in the machine, so I reckon I have hypnotised myself into listening to it. Lol.

Whilst I was waiting for my appointment I was reading an interview with Jessica Hart on Nas Dean’s blog here about creating emotional conflict in your stories. There were light bulbs going off all over the place, the article is enormously helpful and I would recommend that you read it. Can’t wait to get back to my WIP now.

Meanwhile I'm back to practising gratitude – even grateful for the full washing basket, so there! What are you especially grateful for today?

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Value of an Opinion

I debated about putting my alternative first paragraphs on my blog, but it has proved useful and not as scary as I first thought. There has been a record number of hits on my last post. Pity all of the viewers didn’t comment or follow my blog, but maybe they will if they come back again. I had a couple of comments by email and Facebook as Blogger wasn’t allowing comments on one day.

So what have I learned?

1. I have some very supportive friends and followers out in cyber space.

2. For every person who loves your writing, there will be someone who hates it. You will never please everyone.

3. As you all know writing is a journey and I have learned a little more about the impact of my words. Pleased that the tone of the two pieces and their different nuances were reflected in the comments – maybe I can do this!

4. I have to write the book I want to write. My main problem is that this book started life as a Mills and Boon and has mutated into something different. There may actually be two books to be written from these beginnings. One more complex and the other light and sexy.

Thank you to everyone who commented, watch this space. Has anyone else learned anything from my post and the comments?

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Help please - Which book would you rather read?

As part of the ‘May - You Write Your Novel’ #mywyn 80,000 words in 80 day writing challenge, I am re-writing and finishing a novel I started for the M&B New Voices competition way back last September.

I have re-written the opening paragraphs and my good friend Ellie Swoop is very clear about which version she likes best.

Below I give the two versions. Please comment to tell me which you like best?

Version 1

Rosie watched in horror as the stain spread across her dress. The red seemed to consume the fine white wool. As the initial shock wore off she turned flashing eyes to the cause of her disfigurement.

‘Do you realise how much this dress cost?’

‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you, but you did throw the wine over yourself.’

Rosie dabbed at the puddle on her chest with her napkin, whilst juggling her empty wine glass and handbag. She glared at the man in front of her. The dabbing was having little effect. The saying “if looks could kill” came to her mind. He might only have made her jump by speaking to her, but she was furious. If she hadn’t been miles away trying to work out the relationship of the couple across the lawn from her, the accident would never have happened. She remembered the countless hours of trudging around shops it had taken to find her dress.

‘I was going to introduce myself. You must be Rosie Phillips.’

Version 2

His body looked tantalising. Rosie’s mind somersaulted through different thoughts as her sapphire eyes widened. She couldn’t wait to see him naked and see him she would, she was determined. He had cyclist’s legs. They were tanned right up to the edge of his shorts. She wanted to know how far up the tan extended, to slide her fingers underneath the fabric to find out and then to caress the soft inside skin of his thighs, making him beg, plead for her fingers to go higher and higher.

Shivering in anticipation despite the heat of the afternoon, Rosie brazenly turned her attention to the triangle of flesh at the neck of his shirt. His chest was tanned too. Was he brown all over? Had some lucky girl been delighted by the sight of his unclothed torso this summer? Maybe she had slathered suntan lotion onto his back, his chest, his legs, his...

Rosie licked her lips and tried to regain some composure. She closed her eyes. He hadn’t even spoken to her, but she had singled him out as someone she wanted to spend time with even if only in her mind. Her thoughts strayed back to suntan oil, baby oil, olive oil...

‘Hello, you must be Rosie Phillips.’

She jumped, spilling red wine down the front of her pristine white dress. Muttering an oath and blushing to the roots of her blonde hair, Rosie frantically dabbed at the spreading red stain with a napkin. The object of her desire was right in front of her watching her efforts with a slight grin on his face. She couldn’t decide what was worse, having naughty fantasies about his body, swearing in front of him or appearing a clumsy idiot.

Which novel would you want to read and why did you choose that version? Thank you.

Blog Archive