Middlings

I’m currently working on the fourth novel in a series (of which there will be seven). I have been loosely planning the novels in my notebook but mostly they have come together of their own accord. It’s like something I’ve never experienced before and I love it!

I’ve come to the realisation that my weakness (because we all have them) while writing is the middle. Because I have planned the beginning and know where I want it to end up, I know what I’m doing there. However, because I haven’t been putting in a rigid structure or plan throughout my novel I’ve found two things: that my characters have free reign to tell me what they want to do and that I flounder somewhat.

In one way, I like writing like this. My story goes where it should go and the characters seem to know where to take me from one scene to the next. They seem to have a lot of bright ideas. But one thing that I do find is that on the occasion when I sit down to write and I’m not sure where my characters want to go, I’m a bit lost. Sometimes I find myself slogging through the thousand words just to get it down on paper but not really feeling it. Sometimes I’ll sit for ages just wondering (and of course procrastinating) what should happen next.

Of course there are pros and cons of planning and pantsing but I like to adopt an in-the-middle approach that seems to work generally quite well for me. What I do think I’m good at doing is soldiering on through the times when I find it hard to write. I make myself write because I know that when I hit the next scene my fingers will be flying and the characters will be taking over again.

In other news, I’m taking off this weekend for some time with family and my partner as we head to the Harry Potter studio in London. Of course I’m so excited about it being the huge Harry Potter dork that I am (and currently deciding how many Harry Potter themed clothes it would be acceptable to wear!).

Oh and look out this weekend for a cover reveal from Granville, my new co-written novella which is being released on the 17th. If you want to take part here’s the link to the release party on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/464630770410893/

David Owain Hughes will also be attending the party as of course, he is the co-author! Also look out for Eight Deadly Kisses released by Dark Chapters Press, an anthology written by women with strong female characters. All proceeds go to CAMFED.

Co-writing Experiences

Recently I met a man who is going to be in the same anthology as me. It’s released on Halloween (can you guess the genre?!) and is published by Burning Willow Press. It’s going to be awesome.

We spent a bit of time chatting and getting to know one another and it turns out, we have a lot in common as well as some neat ideas we can share. So we decided to co-write something. At first it was going to be a short story but it kept growing and the ideas kept flowing and in just over two weeks we have churned out a novella!

I always wondered how co-writing would work. The logistics of it confused me a lot and I didn’t know whether it would be set out a certain way or a certain author would write a certain bit. In fact, we have just gone with it as it suits us. I started and passed it to my friend who added and passed it back. Now we’re at the same stage only I did the first round of edits and emailed it to him.

What started as a bit of fun might turn into something more as we have queries several publishers who are all interested in seeing the finished novella which is great!

What I’ve found with co-writing is that it boosts my creativity. Not that I can’t write on my own mind you but have someone to constantly bounce ideas off is great, especially if you’re both on the same page but have different imaginations. I have also found that it means because I am responsible to my friend for finishing my section, I’m working quicker, I’m putting more energy and thought into the novella.

I’ve been writing this at the same time as working on my novel (which is now at 30k) and although I thought it may have been too big a project to take on at the time, I have really enjoyed the experience. I will certainly co-write again!

What are you thoughts and feelings on co-writing? Have you ever co-written something? What was your experience like? I would love to hear from you!

Back to Normality

Wow, I feel like so much has happened in the past few weeks I don’t even know where to start!

I got back from an amazing holiday in New York on Tuesday rather dog-eared and tired but happy nonetheless. I’ve been to America before to the South so New York was an entirely different experience. I loved it, most of it! I found that the city moved with a pace beyond belief and it was so hard to keep up with everything and everyone there. We did all the tourist things you would expect like visiting the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and Central Park. We ate lots of amazing food, went to see Wicked (which is amazing by the way!) and celebrated my aunt’s birthday with champagne and cupcakes. It certainly was a treat and one that I would repeat, though maybe not for a while! I love travelling. I always find that it makes me think about what I have at home and what I might take for granted, and so it encourages me to be happier in life. Does anyone else get that?

A shot of Central Park taken from the Top of the Rock in New York!

A shot of Central Park taken from the Top of the Rock in New York!

There will be some more pictures to follow this blog post but I’m still trying to catch up with everything!

A few days after I got back I received my copy of Undead Legacy through the post! That’s right, the zombie anthology in which my short story Dealing in Death is featured, came to my door. I have my very own copy and let me tell you, it not only looks cool but it feels cool! I cannot wait to read through all the fantastic stories in this anthology!

Want to check it out? Simply look here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Undead-Legacy-Stuart-Keane-ebook/dp/B00V9073F0/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1428614483&sr=8-1&keywords=undead+legacy

I’m back at work now and you know something, I think it has to be the first time I’ve gone back to work after a holiday and not been dreading it. I am so lucky to have such an amazing job. Do any of you feel like that? What would be your perfect job?

The other very exciting thing is that I’ve hit the huge milestone of 1000 likes on Facebook! It’s a huge achievement for me to know that that many people are following and interesting in my work. So much of an achievement in fact that I’m running a little giveaway… check it out on my facebook page: http://facebook.com/alice.j.black.doors

Until next time, folks!

Post-publication and cats

Life post publication is still a little bit surreal. I still can’t quite believe my novel is out there and that people are buying it and reading it. I haven’t had any reviews for it yet though the people that I have spoken to ensure me that they are enjoying it. Still, I feel a little uneasy, you know? Having a review would at least be something concrete and give others a way to judge the book and hopefully encourage them to pick up a copy.

I’m getting quite involved in some anthologies at the minute too. So it means that although I’ve finished Nano and I’m taking a break from longer writing, I still have something to keep my brain ticking over. I just entered a short story to Sirens Call Publications this morning about a man stuck in a mental asylum who is desperate to get out. I’ve also got another short to work on today if I have time (as it’s due tomorrow) about spirits but considering I’m at the beginning of a twelve hour shift, I’m not convinced I’ll have time to get it done!

I’m looking forward to tonight too when I finish work as we have a night of bad food (burgers) and movies planned which should be nice. Then I only have a few more days left at work before I have a week off. It’s my six year anniversary with my partner and we’re celebrating my going to visit the Harry Potter Studio. I cannot wait, you would not believe! It’ll be awesome just to get away and to not have to drive it a brilliant concept too hehe.

We’ve also recently adopted another cat into our family. It belongs to my sister but her situation has changed dramatically which means she can’t keep her. At first it was a bit sketchy and she hid under the sofa out of claws reach of our other kitty for over thirty hours. She came out overnight last night and ate all of her food and used her litter tray which is a big improvement. And this morning I was in for a shock when she crawled out from under the sofa right in front of our kitty and done a few laps of the living room (with kitty following like a lost puppy dog) and then came for a cuddle before going back under. It’s slow but it’s progress!

For now it’s more work and contemplation on writing.