An Open Letter To My Current WIP.

 

Dear WIP

I know it has been a while, but remember me? The one who created you and gave life to you?

Yeah the one who has been neglecting you recently. Yeah, her.

I haven’t completely forgotten about you! I thought about you the other day when I went to wash my hair and noticed my house guest had used up all of my shampoo. It reminded me of our MC Livi being annoyed at Angel for using her conditioner.

I’ve thought of you at other times, mainly in the dead of night when I can’t sleep. I mean they aren’t exactly warm, fuzzy thoughts but hey at least I am thinking about you right?

I have a confession to make… I’ve been seeing other WIPs. I know! I’m sorry! Please don’t cry, you will smudge your ink.

I couldn’t help it.

Jase and Jem have started to talk to me after being silent for so long and you know what they are like once they get going. That Jem is very demanding. I also had to check in on Sammy and Frankie – they’ve been on that bloody plane for three months; they are only going to Greece.

I’m sure you can understand. You were once that little niggle in the back of my head, occasionally blurting out random snapshots of inspiration. Always there, demanding attention, demanding for your voice to be heard.

But you’ve gone a bit quiet now, I can’t remember when you last jumped up with a ah-ah moment and I can’t force you.

I know, I’ve tried.

So, maybe we should take a break. Don’t worry, I won’t forget about you completely. How could I? You have been sitting in the plotting file in my brain for years.

You are my one true story – the story I am meant to write. The story I have been nurturing for as long as I can remember. But not yet.

Let me have fun with my other WIPs and resolve my issues with them.

Maybe I will be washing the pots one day and you will jump out, waving your arms and shouting about a good idea.

Perhaps having a break will reignite that spark.

Yours (un)faithfully

EC

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Ten Signs You Are A Writer

10 signs you are a writer

  1. You have a special writing notebook which you keep with you at all times.

  2. You have laid awake at night pondering at what point in the story you should kill your characters

  3. You have laid awake at night pondering how you should kill your characters.

  4. You have at least one google search that could be used as evidence in court against you.

  5. Messing around on social media counts as “working.”

  6. You talk to your characters…

  7. …Even your characters don’t listen to you and do as they want.

  8. You would rather spend time with your imaginary characters than with real people

  9. You read the above and thought they aren’t imaginary they are real!

  10. Your idea of “me time” is writing.

My homework last time was to:

Find some hashtag games to do on Twitter – I already did authorconfession, 1lineweds and I’ve started to do thurds. Even if I don’t have any lines that fit the themes, I enjoy reading everyone else’s.

Write some more of my current WIP – Old Tom. Yes. I still haven’t thought of a better title yet. I have put up another scene under the Old Tom tab.

Work on my website – I’ve changed the header – and er… that’s it. I tried to change the background colour but it wouldn’t work..

My next objectives – write more obviously.

Have a look at my poor, neglected Facebook page. I’ve not been on it for months. I think I only have two likes. I need to make a decision – either get rid, or actually use it.

Have another tinker with my website. I do worry though that I will accidentally wipe the entire thing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have some death scenes to ponder.

Homework update

Last week I decided to channel my inner school nerd and set myself two “homework” tasks – to make a start on my new book and to increase my twitter followers. How did I get on?

To make a start on my new book

I actively made time to write but made sure it was productive. I found by setting a short time frame I was actually wrote more than when I just sat down with a vague idea to write for three hours. I set myself the task of writing three scenes and I did. Yay me. I have created a new page on my site – Old Tom – and I have uploaded the opening scene. I am going to upload a different scene each week. I know, I know – Old Tom is a rubbish name, but that has been the working title for years now. I will hopefully come up with a better title at some point. I did briefly flirt with Sins of the Fathers but rejected it. It’s actually the great grandparents’ sins they are being punished for and Sins of the Granny just sounds wrong frankly. I’m sure there is a niche market for that type of book though.

To increase my twitter following to 3000.

Did you know that you can only follow 1000 people a day? I didn’t – but I do now. I have also realised that it is incredibly boring just sitting there going “follow, follow, follow.” I tried to be discerning, but I’ve since realised that some of those I followed haven’t updated their accounts in months so they are probably inactive.

I’ve got the usual tweet-bots following me – not much I can do about that and I’ve not followed them back so at least I can feel virtuous. Oddly I had five sites promoting goods aimed at senior citizens follow me in one day.

As I write this I have 2383  followers, so obviously I didn’t achieve my target but I have some gained some lovely followers. I have started to take part in #authorconfession, which I am finding fun and I’ve gained followers that way. That’s the way to do it I think.

So, mixed results with my homework but I am glad I set those targets as it focussed me and I’ve decided to set myself some more homework.

  1. Write two more scenes (Only two this time as know one of them will be complicated, lots of exposition involved which means I’ll be spending ages trying to make it not sound exposition-y. You know what I mean right?)

  2. I already do #authorconfession and #1linewed – I need to find another one to participate in.

  3. Work on my website – I am aware that it’s very blah.

So I will see you all next week, hopefully with a zhuzhed up website.  Although, I am not the most technically minded person so I will probably accidentally delete it or something.

In which case I will you find me weeping in the corner.

 

 

New School Year, New Rules

Ah, the start of the school year – so full of promise. The kids are declaring that they will do their homework as soon as they get it and I will prepare their lunch boxes the night before. Actually, it’s four days in and I’ve not done that once. Ah well.

The homework thing has got me thinking – should I set “homework” for myself?  Writing homework that is – I’m not going to set myself four pages of long division. That would be pointless. And cruel.

My rationale is that I was goody goody at school and always did my homework, so if I call it homework I will do it. Hopefully. I have to do something to up my game – my motivation is seriously waning and when I do sit down to write I’m not always productive.

So I am going to set myself some SMART goals each week. Of course being an independent author means doing it yourself so my homework will also cover social media presence, website, promotion and all that.

So my homework for this week:

Get cracking on with that novel that’s been burning inside me since I was a teenager.

Specific goal – Write three scenes from Old Tom (not the real title, but I don’t have a name yet. I’ve only had 20 years to think of one.)

Measurable – err…. I will be able to see I’ve written three scenes. I will put some of it up under the features section on my WordPress site.

Achievable – Yes, as long as my kids and hubby don’t interrupt me. Like the youngest is doing now – I really don’t care what some random You-Tuber is doing!

Relevant – Well yes, it’s writing.

Time – By next Friday.

Increase my twitter following

Specific goal – Increase to 3000 (As I write this it is 1361, which I know in Twitter terms isn’t a lot)

Measurable – Well, I will be able to see…

Achievable – Hope so, I won’t be resorting to those sites where you pay for followers and I am not going to count those robots.

Relevant – Yes. Yes it is. It’s not just an excuse to pootle about on Twitter all day.

Time – By next Friday.

So, that is it, the homework has been set, I will accept no excuses for not completing it.

And I know I don’t have a dog so I can’t blame Fido for eating it.

Got that writing bug but the ideas just aren’t flowing? Try this fun writing game.

 If nothing else it’ll waste time and at least you will feel like you are doing something productive.

 You will need a dice (Or if you are like me and have lost your dice you can get slips of paper numbered 1 to 6), some kind of music player (MP3, Spotify, Gramophone etc.) and a sprinkling of imagination.

First we need a genre, so roll your dice (or pick a slip.)

1) Romance 2) Horror 3) Fantasy 4) Western 5) Thriller 6) Young Adult

I got 2, so that is horror. But wait, slash genres are much more fun, so roll again to get your second genre.

1) Comedy 2) Fairy tales 3) Mystery 4) Time travel 5) Paranormal 6) Dystopian

I got 6, so my genre is going to be horror/dystopian. Hmmmm.

Now we need three characters. But what to call them? Easy…

Character 1 (the hero/heroine) after your first pet (so that’s Rick)

Character 2 – (Significant other, whether it be love interest or best mate or whatever) after the first street you lived on (Bentley)

Character 3 (the villain)– after your first school (Kirkby)

But that’s boring, we need to jazz the names up a bit, so for each character roll the dice and spell their name accordingly.

1) Keep the original spelling     2) Change the spelling slightly      3) Put an apostrophe in, doesn’t matter where.     4) Stick a hyphen in       5) Just use the first half of the name        6)   Spell it in the most obscure way you can. The more difficult to read, the better

I got 6, 3 and 1 so….Ryc, Ben’tley and Kirkby.

Now we need a title for the story. This is where the music player comes in. Press shuffle 5 times, the fifth song is your title. Erm… I got Dancing Queen. I’d like to retain a smidge of dignity and say I have an ABBA album, but I don’t. It’s the Steps version. But trust me, it could have been a lot worse.

A horror / dystopian called Dancing Queen. Oookaay.

OK, so what happens in the story? Roll the dice 4 times to find your plot points.

1) Kill a character off   2) Arrest someone   3) Have someone go missing    4) Argument    5) Someone goes on a long but time critical journey     6) Major flirtation

I got 5, 6, 3 and 2 so, someone has to go on a long but time critical journey, major flirtation, someone goes missing, and I have to arrest someone.

The ending:

Roll 1- 2 – Happy ever after and it’s all tied up.

Role 3-4 – End on a cliff hanger – your readers hate you as they will have to wait for the sequel.

Roll – 5-6 It’s a bit ambiguous. Will you do a sequel? Maybe.

As for the rest of the story? Well that’s where the sprinkle of imagination comes in.

Use the comment section or contact page to let me know what you come up with.

The 20 Stages Of Writing

  1. Have a brilliant idea for a story – just as you are about to fall asleep.
  2. Spend the next day trying to remember it.
  3. Spend the next three weeks formulating the plot in your head.  You know exactly how it will pan out.  You have the perfect opening scene in your head. This is it, this will be your breakout book.
  4. Finally sit down to write – churn out 1000 words.
  5. Delete.
  6. Re-write it all again exactly the same – maybe it will seem better this time.
  7. It doesn’t.
  8. Bang your head on the wall whilst repeating the mantra “It’s only the first draft.”
  9. Re-start and plough on regardless, even though your soul is dying with each word you write.
  10. Think of a brilliant plot twist – will mean re-writing most of it.
  11. Spend 2 hours researching some obscure fact on the internet. Somehow go off on a tangent and watch panda videos for 3 hours.
  12. Write more
  13. Think of another brilliant scene – for the WIP that has been largely ignored for the past 6 months.  You must write it NOW so you discard the current opus to work on the other WIP.
  14. Eventually return to your new WIP with renewed energy.
  15. The end is in sight. Your fingers are flying over the keyboard, spelling, punctuation and grammar be damned you just want to get your ideas down. 
  16. Done. Finally.
  17. Ignore it for a few weeks so that you can look at it with fresh eyes. 
  18. What is this crap? What was I on? Oh that bit is quite good actually – shame it needs editing out as it doesn’t fit in with the plot twist.  Oh my god, this is the worst thing I have ever written.
  19. Cry.
  20. Repeat.

Ahh, we love writing really.

 

 

**The opening for my current WIP can be found on the features page**

 

Where is Mr Motivator when you need him?

I have found myself somewhat lacking in motivation of late. A series of bereavements, a new job and generally being unwell can do that to a person. I felt quite ashamed when I logged on to my WordPress this morning and found I’d not updated it since February. February! I’m so sorry for neglecting you blog, there there (pat pat).

So, realising I need a metaphorical kick up the bottom, I have compiled a list of tips to motivate me.

Have a REALISTIC goal – If your goal is to write the next Harry Potter, then forget it. You are more than likely setting yourself up to fail. Your goal is to write a novel/novella/short story. My goal is to have the first draft for Bad Girl written by the start of September. There, I’ve said it. I am also going to update my blog once a week.

Focus – Yeah, this is one I struggle on. I actually have three projects on the go. Bad Girl (which is the sequel to A Good Man), Looking for Mr Wright (which started out as a romantic comedy, but I’ve just killed a character off so…) and Spice (which is a YA story about a group of year 11 boys entering the end of year talent show.) Bad Girl will be my main focus, but I will dabble in the other two when I feel like I need a break from it.

Take a break – There is no point in flogging a dead horse. If you are stuck on a scene, or if inspiration isn’t striking you, do something else. Edit that story you wrote ages ago. Work on that project you started two years ago. Going back to it with fresh eyes will make a world of difference. Note to self – taking a break does NOT mean playing Temple Run for two hours.

Remind yourself as to why you are doing it – I love writing. Plain and simple.

The first draft is just a draft – I know this. I do. Really. That doesn’t stop me from getting stuck on a scene because I’m not happy with it. I then get de-motivated and stop. I need to give myself a shake and remind myself of this sometimes. OK, quite often actually. I need to stop obsessing over each scene. It’s the first draft. It’s allowed to be a pile of poop.

Listen to music – I find music a great motivator. Not so much when I am writing – I find I get distracted and break out in to a song and dance routine – but when I am plotting I find it useful.  Sometimes songs have actually inspired stories, such is the case with Spice (You can probably guess what the boys are going to do in the talent show.)

Read – Reading is my favourite pastime and reading others’ work is a great way to motivate yourself. There are downsides. When I read a really good book  I feel de-moralised when I realise I can’t write as good as that. On the flip side, when I read a rubbish book and I mean I’ve read some howlers, I start to be plagued by self doubt – am I as bad as that? It’s time to use that self-doubt and channel it in to my editing process. Yes, Lizzie, the editing processing. Don’t obsess over the first draft.

Be flexible – I need to realise that I can’t write every day, I don’t have the chance. I need to “book” my writing time in advance and I need to make it count. I know I won’t get much time this week, but next week I can probably get in three hours a day.

Go for a run – yeah, that’s not happening. Ever.

In order to celebrate my new found motivation – and to make sure I stick to it – I have put up the opening to Bad Girl on the Features page so check it out. Bad Girl is the sequel to A Good Man.

A conversation with my 13 year old self

Me – Hello 13 year old me.

Child me – Arh! Who are you?

Me – I am you from the future.

Child me – I still have the same hair syle?

Me – Ahem. Anyway, is that the serial killer story?

Child me – Yeah, do you remember it? 

Me – Sort of.  It’s the first story I wrote. We wrote. I wrote. Whatever.  What’s the body count so far?

Child me –   Eddie’s just been run down. Do I become a best selling author?  Am I the female R.L Stine? 

Me – Not quite… you will stop writing in your late teens.

Child me – But why? I love writing! I’m going to be a best selling author!

Me – I don’t know why, you will just lose interest and then life gets in the way.

Child me – Is it at least an exciting life?

Me – Erm… not really. 

Child me – Have you come back to depress me?

Me – You will start writing again when you are in your thirties.

Child me – But that’s ancient!

Me – And you will self publish your books.

Child me – But won’t it take forever, writing out each copy?

Me – Well no, you will type it.  Computers are much more advanced in the future.  The one I use is probably about the same size as that A4 pad.

Child me – And then I print it out and post it to people?

Me – No, you upload it to a website, and then when people want to buy it they download it to their computer, phone, or tablet.

Child me – I didn’t understand a word of that.

Me – It doesn’t matter. The point is, the writing world is very different in the future and self publishing is very popular.  It allows anyone who wants to be a writer, to be a writer.  I self published my first book a couple of years ago.  It is called Frankie.

Child me – Is he a serial killer?

Me – No!  He is one of Cupid’s trainees and he is supposed to help a girl called Sammy to find love but it doesn’t quite work out.

Child me – Is she a serial killer?

Me – No, no one is serial killer.  No one dies. It’s a romance.

Child me – What happened to you?  Me…You… Whatever.

Me – Honestly? I don’t know. I’m as surprised as you are.  I’ve done three more since then. I’ve done a follow up to Frankie – and no, he hasn’t turned in to a serial killer. Then I did A Good Man.

Child me – Another soppy romance?

Me – No, that’s a crime / thriller.  No one dies though.

Child me – That’s a bit better I suppose. 

Me – And then there is The Boy Next Door. You will probably like that one. It’s about a vampire who is terrorising a small village.

Child me- Phew. I was getting worried that I was going to turn soft in my old age.

Me – I am not old!

Child me – Hang on, did you say that people read on phones and tablets?  Is it like the speaking clock and someone reads the books to you?

Me – Phones and tablets are more like mini computers in the future.

Child me – How are we supposed to swallow the tablet?

Me – Not that kind of tablet. 

Child me – The future sounds kinda weird and complicated. I think I’m going to stick with my pen and paper for now.  Any ideas on how to end my story?

Me – A showdown in an abandoned house?  Have you worked out that Dina is the serial killer yet?

Child Me – Dina?  Oh my god, that’s a good twist.  I will need to re-write some parts though.

Me – Welcome to the world of writing…

 

 

Reasons why I can’t write as much as I’d like.

All writers have things that stop from them from writing, here are my main ones. 

The kids – I love my kids. Really, I do. I just wish they would SHUT UP when I am trying to write. Sometimes it can take me half an hour to write one paragraph because every two words I get “Mum, watch this!” “I’m hungry.” “Can I have a drink?” “Can we go town?” Apparently I get tetchy when I write – I wonder why!!! Even when writing this I’ve had 10 interruptions.  Yes, I kept a tally.

My phone broke and I had to reset it, losing all my apps. The wifi doesn’t work so I can’t re-download anything. You might think I’d be more productive now I can’t play on my phone but that’s not the case. I used to use Google Docs on my phone to write. I could stand in the kitchen making a cuppa and write at the same time. I could do 10 minutes in my lunch break at work. It was easy. Now I have to use my laptop and it’s not so convenient.

Shhh – can you keep a secret? My family don’t know I write, apart from the eldest. The youngest knows I like to make up stories but she doesn’t know I publish them. The husband has no idea whatsoever. I plan on telling him when I make my first £100. So in other words I’ll probably tell him on my death bed. That’s why the phone was so handy. I could write sneakily. Now I have to plan my writing around when he is going to be out.

Work – Work just gets in the way of everything really doesn’t it? It’s a necessary evil.

Social Media – I just spend far too much time faffing around on Facebook and Twitter. I tend to get drawn in to the clickbait articles on Facebook and can easily spend 15 minutes clicking through 30 slides only to realise the article was fairly pointless. I also have my Facebook page Elizabeth’s Book Club to maintain, although that’s fallen by the wayside slightly since I started Twittering. I also have my blog to maintain as well.

Eurovision – What do you mean it’s only one night? For you maybe, for me it takes weeks of preparation as I write a Eurovision guide. I have to watch all the videos and make notes on each act. I have to sit through both of the semi finals, again making notes on the performances. I am then up until late on the Thursday finishing the guide (Once the running order for Saturday’s final has been announced) ready for sending on Friday.

Reading–  I love reading. I could quite easily read all day if I could. The phone issue has lessened this to some extent as I can’t get Kindle on my phone now so I have to use Kindle on the laptop (Which doesn’t feel right). I am a frequent visitor to my local library but I tend to read the books too quickly and have to wait until I get chance to go again. I have been known to raid my kids’ bookshelf to get my reading fix.

That’s not mentioning all the other stuff that gets in the way, like housework, cooking and all the other boring things that people have to do.

It’s a wonder I get anything done at all.

Oh, to be a heroine in a romance novel.

My life would be so… predictable.

I will have just come out of a Bad Relationship. Well, it was two years ago, but it was really bad OK and now obviously all men are dogs. Yes, even the Cute Guy Next Door. One man has now tarred an entire gender. I will have Trust Issues.

I will not have time for a man anyway because I have a busy and important job as an Assistant in either a financial or advertising company. The details don’t really matter.   My immediate boss is either incompetent or dodgy. I am actually starting to feel dissatisfied with my job but because I am stuck in a rut I don’t bother to job hunt. It doesn’t matter anyway because by the end of the book I will have landed my Dream Job.

I will have a Fabulous Best Friend, who is a straight talking, no nonsense type of gal. Her advice on any given situation will either involve violence and alcohol, shopping and alcohol, or just alcohol.

Fabulous Best Friend is probably a border line alcoholic.

Despite the fact I have been single for two years, two potential boyfriends will enter my life. Men are like buses.

They will be:

Cute Guy Next Door – actually I will have known him for a while but because he is man and therefore a dog I have ignored him apart from the odd hello. It is obvious for all the world to see that he fancies me and is a Nice Guy. Obvious to everyone that is, apart from me.

Hot Guy at Work – The new guy, some kind of head honcho. All the women drool over him but not me. He is a man therefore he is a dog.

Despite my cold behaviour and lack of interest both men will  pursue me with varying degrees of success.

Cute Guy Next Door – keeps “accidently” bumping in to me or making up excuses to come round.

Hot Guy at Work – flowers, chocolates, the whole works.

Who should I date?

The nice guy, who seems genuinely sweet or the rich guy who is bit of a player.

Duh, no contest.

Go on a date with Hot Guy at Work. Despite my reservations, I will have a fantastic time. The next day I hear he is flirting with every girl in the office.

Why can’t men commit to one woman?

Two days later I will agree to go on a date with Cute Guy Next Door. Outside the bar, I see him talking to beautiful woman. There is no point in asking him who it is, or giving him the chance to explain himself. He is man therefore he is a dog. Stand him up with no explanation and rebuff him when he tries to speak to me.

Men who flit from one woman to the next really annoy me.

Start to date Hot Guy at Work. It doesn’t take long for us to fall in to bed. Obviously he is amazing.

He also doesn’t snore like a pig starting a clapped out lawnmower (A man who doesn’t snore. Someone who only exists in the realms of a romance novel.)

Start to fall in love after only three dates.

It will turn out he was only using me as a pawn in some nefarious plot involving either a takeover of the company or some big contract. The details don’t matter. As to why he chose me over more influential people in the company doesn’t matter either.

He is sacked and I will spend a week crying in bed.

Fabulous Best Friend makes me get up using a mixture of colourful swear words, threats and alcohol.

I will return to work to find I have somehow been promoted. New job involves lots of money and travel. Result.

Cute Guy Next Door finally gets his chance to explain that the woman was his cousin. He still wants to date me, this is despite me showing myself to be shallow, stubborn and judgemental.

But hey, I’m in a romance novel so it doesn’t matter.