Saying Goodbye to 2015

There’s always something quite nice and refreshing about a new year. I always find myself gearing up ready for exciting things. I make goals for myself and put in plot points to reach them. I relish the idea of starting afresh and while 2015 has not been a particularly arduous year, I feel like 2016 is signalling great new things to come.

Already I have had news that a co-written novella by myself and David Owain Hughes has been accepted for publication. I have a novel in with Dark Chapters Press which I hope to hear about come February and already a couple of short stories lined up to be in anthologies.

I have plans to finish writing a series of novels that I’m working on. This year I wrote two which means I’m challenging myself to write five novels next year in that series. I have another idea brewing that could possible be something in the middle grade/YA range which I’m excited about and of course I’ll try and keep up with short story submissions.

In other things I want to challenge myself to read more. Although the latter half of this year has gotten relatively better, I’ve picked up an actual reading challenge and started compiling a list of books that I want to acquire.

And of course there are those usual personal goals in amongst all of that including being more organised and certainly more assertive. That’s always a hard one, isn’t it?

Whether you’re a goal setter or not, I wish you all the most happy of New Years and hope that 2016 brings everything you could want.

 

 

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!

Circle of Trees: the idea.

I’m working on editing a novel I wrote during the 2013 NaNoWriMo extravaganza. I hit near 60k with this one (one of my longest to date on initial write) and I really loved it. It’s already had a couple of different titles and I’m working on giving it another for when I finish but for now we’ll call it The Circle of Trees.

This novel idea came to me when I was out walking one day. I remember the day just as it was: bright and sunny. I was out for one of my first walks with a hiking group, my dad in tow. We were hiking in Ingram Valley which is located in Breamish Valley, Northumberland. It’s a beautiful spot and one I’ve been to before with bbqs and friends for fun days out.

This day in particular was sweltering hot and we traversed up a narrow pathway up the side of a steep hill. My dad and myself were near the back of the group and as I walked, I watched my feet. There was no way I wanted to stumble and slip over the side! So I finally got to the top and as our group was moving over a stile one by one, I finally had the chance to look up. I saw hills after hills, greenery and blue sky. It was beautiful. That’s when I saw them. On the top of a hill there was a circle of trees. It struck me with the way they were formed, almost as if they had been put there on purpose, and I couldn’t help but think on it. It lingered in my mind and I wish I had managed to stop and take a photo – it was hard work keeping up with everyone – as there have been so many times I’ve wanted to go back and grab the shot and never managed yet.

As we ended the walk at the local pub with a well earned pint of beer and a snickers (essential walking food!) I got out my notebook and jotted a few things down. The idea grew from there and it seemed, so did the characters. When I wrote the novel in 2013 it was one of my easiest writes so far. I’d planned it well and I was so absorbed in the story itself.

Now I’m finally getting around to editing (five chapters in so far) with the hopes of submitting it when I’m done. So I’m going to start searching for publishers too!

Hours to go…

It’s only hours to go until the official release of my debut novel, The Doors. I cannot describe how I feel! It’s like a mix of excitement coupled with a bit of apprehension. I can tell you one thing for certain, I won’t be sleeping early tonight!

Today saw the delivery of several copies of The Doors that I ordered for the giveaway that I’ve organised (there’s still time to enter if you like). And a few of them are going out to some people who helped me along the way too.

Now… I’m working on my nano project which, as all of my nanos have, has had it’s ups and downs. It’s a young adult dystopian novel which is something quite different than what I’m used to writing. I am enjoying the write and some parts, as always happens, are easier than others. Now I’m hitting a part that is almost like a dark side to the story. My mc is literally in the dark for a whole week. The novel has been entirely in her point of view so don’t want to jump out just because of that but I’m not sure how I will work around it. I haven’t had a chance to do much writing today what with doing shopping and getting my hair cut for the first time in a verrryyy long time (really, it wasn’t as traumatic as I thought and I love my new hair!) Perhaps I’ll be able to do some when I finish work at 10 tiredness and excitement levels permitting.

First round of edits: Complete!

I finally finished the first round of edits for my novel. *phew* breathes a sigh of release. But it’s not over yet folks. That’s right, the second round is to come. How do I feel about that? Well, let’s start with how I felt about the first round! It was tough. I’m not going to lie, it was tough but at the same time I got a lot out of it. I learned a lot about how well I handle criticism, I learned how well I can work and edit when I put my mind to it and I worked damn hard to do it.

The second round – I’m quite looking forward to seeing the whole thing altogether as a novel. I’m equally intrigued to find out how many words it is now. When I submitted it was around 48k and I’m guessing it’s gone up some since then. My story has changed slightly, not the plot itself but since adding background info in and more character development, small details I’ve had to waiver. But it’s all a part of the creative process.

And let me tell you what a genius my editor is. I think she was just as nervous as me when we started this. She was worried she was being too critical or making too many notes. She’s an absolute saint. She’s given my baby everything she could and for that, I’m so thankful. Thank you, Missy!

This weekend I plan to have a little bit of a breather. I’m taking off for the day on Saturday with some friends and my partner to have a lovely day out involving lots of sunshine (fingers crossed) and on Sunday I plan to be in my pjs all day. I’m going to cook a Sunday dinner complete with roast potatoes (my favourite thing at the minute). I might possibly scrapbook or write or the bigger likelihood, I’ll game! Either that or watch a few movies. There’s a few I want to catch up on so I can go see the sequels that are coming out now.

Then I have a third day off! That’s unheard of. No idea what I’ll do with that. I have a niggling feeling that there’s something in the back of my mind… I’m sure there’s something I’m doing. But anyway, nice and relaxed.

Then back to the grind and hopefully the edits, feeling refreshed!

Spontaneous Creativity

Today I had a productive morning in my writing that was totally unexpected! I woke up thinking I had a few things to do before I went to wok. I tidied a little and had a shower and had daily five coffees (not really!) and then before I knew it, I was on my laptop and working on a new chapter for my novel due to be released in September.

I hadn’t planned to write, I just did and you know what, it was brill. I had been a bit worried about writing these chapters, about whether they would fit with the novel¬† and tone but actually, when I got started it came quite easily. So I finished one chapter and shot it off, started another and started edits on chapter seven too (which will be chapter ten). I can’t wait to see this in print!

Goal Getter

Last time I wrote I talked about how little I felt I was achieving and what I wanted to do for my days off. This is what I outlined for myself:

  • go to the gym at least twice during that period.
  • spend at least two hours to myself in a quiet room with my writing.
  • read for more than half an hour at one sitting.
  • organise to see some friends/family.

While I didn’t reach all of my goals, I have to say that I managed quite a lot of it. I went to the gym once. That was more to do with how the days panned out and things I had planned with my partner (as well as the overly gorgeous weather we’ve been having!) I still think I did quite a bit at the gym and I think that little by little, my stamina is slowly increasing! yay.¬†

The biggest priority for me was writing over this time and you know what, I got more than the two hours I wanted, I got almost double that and boy did I use it wisely. I wrote over three thousand words and honed down on a part of my novel that I hadn’t quite written yet but knew needed to be in there so I felt really great about that.

I also managed to read for quite a long time. I’ve started reading Sphere by Michael Crichton. I’ve been reading a lot of YA lately and while I love it, I was feeling the need for something different. I read Jurassic Park and quite liked that so thought I’d give this a go. So far it’s proving to be an effortless read which I like!

Also, I managed to spend time with my sister during my time off, my partner, my nephews and my parents. It was lovely. AND … AND the best part about it, I got to go to the soft play! Hehe. I think I enjoy it more than my nephews really. Saying that I came away with a very skinned ankle bone due to a severely scary slide that I’m terrified of that my three year old nephew happens to love *sigh* the perils of being an auntie!

So all in all I enjoyed my time off. I felt it was productive and creative! Let’s just hope I can keep it up.

My next three days off are Mon-Wed. I am meeting someone about starting a new job on Monday which I’m excited about and other than that I plan to:

  • go to the gym at least twice (let’s see if it works this time!)
  • Spend at least two hours to myself writing.
  • Keep on reading!