Not really writing

Manuscript printed, just now need to decide when to start editing!

I’ve not written for some time, ok I have done this blog and a previous post but that’s not writing really is it?  I haven’t touched the book that I wrote since the start of November, I know what I need to so, or more what I decided to do. I would print it off and painstakingly go through it page by page and review it.

I printed it today ( it was one of today’s tasks as is to post a blog), its 286 A4 pages long, that’s some editing ahead of me.  I have also committed to several other work-related things this month, as I work for myself. The next two weeks could see me quite busy, but I need to find something to do during dry January I suppose.  I also need to start the mammoth task of improving the book, do I start now and fit it in? or do I leave it two weeks?

I have been setting weekly goals / daily goals in a journal with the last week 100% success rate.  I am about to plan my next week’s goals so now if the time to decide I suppose.

New Year Productivity

2018 Productivity and writing

Its been a while since my last post, especially after posting day after day for a while.  It’s over a month, I had taken a break from the book, the first initial draft had been done and then I did Nanowrimo, the book was put on hold and Christmas and New Year happened.

I asked a friend to have a read through of the draft, which I had already started to think to myself there were points that could be improved. I haven’t had all the feedback yet but the general gist was there were a few things that could be tweaked. Feedback is a gift.

The next step I need to print off in its entirety and read through, taking a book to get published being one of 2018 goals.

I took a different twist with regards my 2018 goals,  I decided to pay money for a notebook/ planner.  I saw one planner that looks really good but discovered it was only quarterly and expensive and only available in America, the minimum delivery charge made a 90-day journal far more expensive than a year journal for one I did get.

The journal I ended up with is called inspire now which I can say I am pleasantly pleased with.  Even if it is making me do daily tasks towards my goals.

As for my goals, that’s for another post as I have a couple more tasks to achieve today before I can get my reward of a can of diet coke, thanks to dry January.

NanoWriMo -Done

Done, 50,167 words and within the 30 days. It wasn’t however smooth writing as the graphs show. I started well and tailed off in the middle, as can be seen, forcing a few longer than planned writing sessions towards the end.

I didn’t plan anything prior to starting, other than I had a premise, the day magic came to the world.  I used a lot more characters than I have in previous books, which was a challenge to not lose them in all the words.  There were bits I didn’t like and when I go back to it some bits will be re-written I imagine, but that is the advantage of writing a quick draft. There are some bits that worked really well.  I planned this to be a trilogy from the beginning and I surprised myself in all the subplots that manifested themselves.  It’s in a good place to pick up and take forward, however now its time to pick back up the book I’ve written already and see where it leads me. Exciting times.

Hell hath no fury like the 13th day

In two days time, I should have written 25k words. Halfway point of the month for NaNoWriMo. I, however, have been burning the proverbial candle at both ends this weekend, which seems to be having its toll.

I am tracking my progress with Excel, I have dipped below the line for the last two days. I am also recording how many words above the daily target I am or in case of today how many behind I am.

writing target

Tommorrow its time to get back on track.

Writing in different places – A view over Windermere

I suppose I am extremely lucky. I am sat overlooking Lake Windermere, in a huge mansion-like house, open fire (again) sitting rooms, a dining room that comes with a bell to call to the kitchen, yes seriously and large bedrooms with whirlpool bath and more bells to call to the kitchen.

I am away for the weekend, for the 2nd weekend running, suppose life could be harder. I am away with friends, we have walked/climbed up hills, the nights have been filled with laughter, food (more than enough to feed double the numbers), wine, cocktails, Fifa 18, and good company.

I have managed to stay up as late as everyone, the odd trips to the Jacuzzi outside keeping you awake with the cold and heat at the same time.  I am always the first awake which is now actually a gift. I get to see the morning, listen to the quietness of the house, see the lake, the sun and more so I get to write.

I am ahead slightly on NaNoWriMo, but there is a long way to go for anyone not there. The house is quiet, the only noise is the trees and the wind blowing. This is the life, now I just need to decide do I go for the taster menu or the set dinner at the Michelin starred restaurant we have booked for lunch.

Progress, hispanic, mexican and names from the 1800’s

The laptop charger has now given up completely. I am currently word count wise a day ahead which is ok as I won’t it seems be writing on the train in the morming. This being written on my phone.

A 2nd replacement charger has been ordered. This is since July, what is it with the Microsoft Surface?

The book is coming along,I’m quite happy with my character names after googling top 100 boys and girls names with other elements such as Mexican, Hispanic, American, top names from 1800 it’s quite interesting, the are quite a few characters already and several twists and turns and the story is just on the first day. It’s nice having no time boundaries that I gave myself with the last story.

That I have shelved for a short period while I do nanowrimo, after recently reading a tip while editing . Once finished leave for a period before printing off and reading through cover to cover. You can make edit notes but don’t correct on the digital version. Ask your self questions. Does it flow ? Does it make sense? Are there bits that would help the story along.

NaNoWriMo – The day the magic came

I have 98% finished my novel, it needs a few last edits. However, I wanted to do NaNoWriMo, which involves 1,666 words for the next 30 days. I have had an idea for a while and it is more the genre that I read, Fantasy.  It’s a rough draft then edited after the 30 days. So I am not going to apologise if there are some edits needed. I have been off today so able to spend some time in Ziferblat in Manchester writing. If you aren’t aware of Ziferblat its a pay as you go place to be creative, check out the link. I have so far managed 3439 words, so in theory, I am a day ahead, but I imagine I will need that at some point.

Anyway here is the opening chapter.

Chapter one – The day the magic came

Today, was the day when magic came to the world, not the Paul Daniels or David Blaine type magic but real bona fide magic. I suppose I am classed as a magician, but I am getting ahead of myself, I should start at the beginning.

It was the 1st of November 2017, which is ironic as the previous day being Halloween would have been more appropriate. I suppose somewhere in the world it might have been Halloween when it started. No one realised at first, or I didn’t. My name is Jake Arrow, I was nineteen when it started. I was studying History at University in York.  The day had started like many others I had made my way to my first lecture of the day. I had not noticed the graffiti with the words el flaminto scamore that had appeared since the previous day in several places around the city. I was half asleep as it had been a late night the previous evening, we’d completed a large assignment, and that was something to celebrate. As I walked I briefly checked my phone, there were no new messages from Nicky.  I had been seeing Nicky for over a year, but my going to University had put a strain on the relationship, and my life at university if I am honest. I had arranged to call her last night, but the flowing drinks put a stop to that. I had texted her several times at the end of the evening with my beer head on, not the best of ideas. I checked what was trending and scoffed, nearly at the top was #RonaldoMagic  and at the top #Realmagic. I wasn’t his biggest fan so didn’t look what was being said. I was tired, I had stayed up later than I should and didn’t sleep well.  That should have helped me get into my lecture of time being awake, it had the opposite effect, however.  I was late. As I approached the building my lecture was in, I noticed a crowd of students gathered around something or someone. I was unable to tell as there must have been I’d estimate fifty people. They were chatting away, and I heard a few murmors and gasps. I looked at my phone for the time. I was curious about the now growing swarm of people but not curious enough to be any later.

I tried to sneak in unseen, but that I realised wasn’t possible. The class was half full today. That I found weird. I slipped down beside a friend I was out with last night, Matthew.

He grinned at me and mouthed quietly “Real Magic eh.”

Not another one I thought, how good was it that everyone seemed to be talking about it, first Twitter and now Matthew and he didn’t even like football.

“Not seen it,” I answered.

The history tutor looked over in my direction.

Matthew looked aghast at me. “Really?” He exclaimed.

I shook my head. “You need to see it, really I mean. This will change the world.”

Bit melodramatic I thought. The tutor had stopped talking and was looking in our direction

“Late night was it lads? Or are you going on about the obviously ridiculous magic story?”

I tried my utmost to not make eye contact. It wasn’t my first time I had been late for this lecture, there own fault, why put a lecture on a Friday morning this early.

“It’s true Sir.,” someone from the front of the class said. I looked up it was Jeanne.

“Really?” the tutor said cynically.

“There are video’s out there” she responded.

“And that must mean its true.?” he answered her.

Was I the only one that didn’t know what the hell was going on a wondered. Matthew passed his phone to me. “Watch this, ” he said. It was a video on YouTube, his headphone was still plugged in. I discretely put one in the ear away from my tutor. He was having a conversation with Jeanette at the front of the class.

I pressed play. That was the moment my life changed.

 

Writing Breaks and roaring fires

This is my second writing break this year. The first was early on in the year near Keswick. It is something I will continue to try and do.  It’s great to have the break from the normal day to day routine. This break was through Airbnb and an amazing find.  The family came with me for a period and the distance to a reasonable train station was a challenge being on the West side of the Lakes.  They had a room with a Wii and a projector, which makes me reevaluate my own ‘Man room’ I have for the football and a quiet space.  The place is nearly five miles to the nearest village of note.

cottage.jpg

 

There is zero mobile signal, with the exception I found the top of ‘The pike’ behind the cottage which is a short climb away offering amazing views and more bizarrely 4G.

sunrise2

The view from just outside the cottage first thing in the morning. What you can’t see is I have a freshly brewed filter coffee in hand, the rest is keeping warm on the roaring fire I just made before coming out.

Sunrise No two morning are alike this was the second day.

me

The walk up the Pike to find the only place I have found 4G while being in the lakes, that’s the coast in the background.

Writing, blogging, and Reading, oh and coffee

After the previous glorious sunrises of the last two days, today is dull. The sun has not shown its face, the wind is howling by the windows. I haven’t like the previous days gone out. I have done something new today.

I made fresh coffee in the metal pots I discovered in the cupboard of the holiday cottage, stocked up, switched on the electric blanket and opened the laptop. I have been trawling through wordpress.com/tags/writing.  I have discovered such a wondrous community, with varying degrees of ability but all people taking the time to write. I have read tips and gained valuable knowledge which will make my blog better. I have read moving stories of peoples real lives, short inspiring stories, people with amazing gifts for words. I have followed people, wanting to find out more as they post. Will this be a burden on my time I wonder? I have been up hours and just spent time immersing myself in the writing world, this is the time I don’t often have. Even less so with NaNoWriMo around the corner, but I feel finding it and not carrying on would be a loss.

I constrained myself to a post a day, I didn’t need to. If you have something to say, say it, shout it, write it.   I have also dropped the [XX] number from the posts, it seems no one does that.

[36] Writing tools

It has been a few days since the last post. I am concentrating my efforts on completing and editing the book. I have also been away on a writing break, it didn’t initially start with much writing, as the family joined me. I was pleased with this, apart from my son’s insistence he wanted to go home, that was on the way to the cottage.  Additionally, he is nearly sixteen and not six. The cottage is very rural, several miles from civilisation but it is such as great place.  I was looking forward to it from the point the owner sent through a dossier of things about the cottage. It was thirty pages long, it had detailed instructions, step by step guide to reach my home for the next three nights. It looked to be deep across the moors. The instructions had dry day walks and wet day walks. The nearest pub is an hour and a half away on foot. It is everything you would expect for a rural cottage in the lakes. A massive open fire, a basket of chopped logs, coal, brilliant sunrises and sunsets over big hill and silence. I sit here writing this with just the sound of a ticking clock. The place doesn’t even have a television, the Wifi is slow. I love it.

The blog post is called writing tools, and there is a reason to this. I have purchased the full subscription to Grammarly. I have mentioned this device before, but I decided as it aids editing it would be worth the investment in the premium version. This came about as I thought as it was an online based tool, I would try and edit my Word document online, through Office365. I, however, came across an issue, it doesn’t work with Office online, however, it had a Word plugin. I heartily recommend it.  It was showing things missed that Word’s grammar checker wasn’t picking up. It also suggested quite a few premium items it had noticed. The number of them, shall we say I will keep to myself.  There were additional discounts that could be found as well.

I have just completed a section of my book, I needed some practical guidance with. Let me explain, it involved ( This might be a minor spoiler for unfriended, but doesn’t give too much away) the board game Scrabble.  A certain scenario occurs that requires the use of Scrabble as a means of communication. The cottage had a scrabble board.  I have spent the last hour recreating this scene and spelling out numbers with letters, SEVEN, FOUR etc.  I then thought I would see how it read and came across this website which allows you to paste text in and it can be read out by several different voices.  You can tailor the speed, change the auditor, probably my favourite is the one I think sounds like Graeme Garden from the Goodies. He’s done lots of things but will never lose that tag.  It’s still mechanical in part, but it also gives me another tool in the toolbelt.

I have just listened to this blog through it and will make changes, I did smile when Graeme said Office three hundred and sixty-five.