Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A quick look back, then forwards...

More than half way through nanowrimo, and... not quite beyond 25,000 words - to be honest, nowhere near close to beyond - other bits of work have got in the way along with what happens while you're making other plans - life.

But we're not at the end of the month yet, and I'm going to push as hard as I can until the 30th, and then... keep pushing.  The story I'm writing is starting to take shape - a boy's quest to avenge the death of his father in an alternative Victorian world, and I'm looking forward to reaching the end so I can go back and make it even better in the second draft - watch this space.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Learning to type forwards again.

After completing the rewrites for 'The Hidden Daughter' last month,  I decided to make life simple and write the next book in thirty days.
Well, write the first draft in thirty days, anyway...
I've joined NaNoWriMo where the objective is 50,000 words of manuscript, written exclusively in November - about 1700 words a day.  It's a tough nut to crack, especially if you have a habit of rewriting as you go along (I've taken three, now four attempts to get to the end of this sentence- and I'm still thinking it could use some work). 
So the purpose of NaNoWriMo for me is to get out of the bad habit of changing work before it has time to settle in place, or settle out of place; with an impending deadline, and a mountain of words to find, NaNoWriMo makes you focus less on presenting a completed story, and more on getting the story down.  All of it - good bits, bad bits, bad bits that will be good when you rewrite, and good bits that have to go.

I've put about 4k words down so far; not bad, but I need to do more, so you'll excuse me while I type forwards, and put the backspace button on a high shelf for a couple of hours...

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Done. Sort of.

It's been a tough couple of months of work to finish the rewrites on my first novel, 'The Hidden Daughter' but it's done.  Complete.  Finito.

Actually, I might just have a look at it again... no.

It's really tempting to go back and tweak the manuscript; but I'm not going to do it now - too much euphoria and panic mixed together make for bad editing decisions, so it's going in a drawer for a month or so, while I focus on the next project.

And get some sleep.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

I have been busy, honest...

It's been a while since I updated the blog, mainly because I've knuckled down and applied myself to the rewrite of  my novel manuscript, The Hidden Daughter.  It's going well, but like all things that are worth it in the end, it took a while to apply what I needed to do to the story to make it work.  No prizes for guessing what makes it work in the end is character.  It's all to easy to get a bit of a god complex- I'm writing it, so I'll get them to do that, because that's what makes a good cliffhanger, and so on.  When I looked back at the first draft,  I realised that where I'd gone off the track was when I didn't focus on the characters and how they would act, and react to the circumstances and lives around them.

It's made the rewrites tricky (a whole plotline has changed because Cate wouldn't dream of taking Greg to her careworn home above the shop where her mother Penny works) but as I've reached the other side of that, the story returns to it's heart - what parents will sacrifice for their kids under the yoke of their responsibilities.  And how that isn't always the wisest move, however well intended it is.  And how the past catches up with you faster than the future.  Mostly.

Anyway back to rewrites - chapter seven awaits - I'll get in touch when I come up for air again.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Getting a bigger boat

After the feedback from Derbyshire Scriptwriters on my short screenplay, I took the plunge this weekend, and saw whether I could make a feature out of it or not - and you know what?

I'll tell you in a minute.

I spent a blisteringly hot Saturday in the good company of Michael Eaton and a group of other writers at Nottingham Contemporary on a Scriptwriting Workshop- one of the excellent sessions organised by Nottingham Writers Studio.  Michael has a phenomenal track record, and his thoughts on how to apply his philosophy of the process of scriptwriting to the incredibly varied stories around the room was inspiring, and marvellously invisible - we went into the room with a bunch of completely different stories, and came out with a bunch of completely different outlines for screenplays.  My thanks to Michael and everyone at the workshop for the help and encouragement they gave me for my work; I hope I was of help to them too.

There are more events coming up after the summer, so if you're inspired, take a look.

Yes, it is a feature (I'm practicing adding suspense as I blog), or at least it will be.
I have to finish rewriting the novel first...

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Expect the unexpected

The interesting thing about having your work critiqued by other people is that you never expect the most interesting thing they say...

I've just had my short film screenplay excellently critiqued by Derbyshire Scriptwriters - there were a lot of positives that came out of the session, and some really useful comments which showed me what I thought was clear as day on the page... well, it wasn't.  But this is what it's all about - I might have come up with the same conclusions, I may not - but when several people all tell you the same thing about your work, you get a little look into what the audience might be thinking if the film was shot from the current script, and as a writer who wants people to say they enjoyed the story, it's invaluable.

By the end of the crit, I knew what I could do to make it work harder, and I began to make notes to make it an even better short screenplay - then came the googly:

'You know I think this could be a lot better as a full length feature.'

I'm gonna need a bigger boat.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Just 4 miles

I was about to write that it's not a lot - but it's all relative.

I hadn't planned on running that morning, and when the chance came up in the evening, I took it.
I only had about an hour, so I ran as far as I could in that.
And while I was mentally grumbling that the music in my headphones was hard to keep up with, one of the characters in my story explained why they wanted to see Penny, my central character. Then Penny gave her reaction to the meeting, and the kind of request a character should leap at in a story. Then everything kicked off in the setting of the bricabrac-infested flat Penny hides away in.

So it was just four miles, but when I look back on how far I've come, it's a long way.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Inspiration at Lowdham

I've been inspired to get moving with a blog after a great session with Leicester Writers Club who were one of the sessions at Lowdham Book Festival last weekend - brilliant day, blazing sunshine, and a cracking sandwich from the co-op down the road.

I'll tell you more about what I've been up to as I get up to it.

First step

And here we are. Just starting out with blogs and html and the like, so hang back a little - unexpected sharp braking may be applied at any time within these first posts.