How To Write a Novel in 30 Days…. #3 – #12

Let’s just say I’ve not really had the best of times over the past several days when it has come to this project.

Lots of factors come into this, including being away from university longer than I was initially planning on (I’ve literally only just gotten back to Bath this afternoon), getting distracted with family activities and Sims 4. Add in an excellent dose of Writer’s Block and forgetting to take my medication, and you have the recipe of novel-writing disaster!

I spent a lot of the first week away spending time with my foster mum and the kids, who are all very happy and boisterous as normal. I also hung out a bit with my cousin’s friends in a brilliant Cards Against Humanity session and a few jager-bombs thrown in. I also went out with my grandparents for an afternoon, to the pub for lunch and a drive to the seafront for a quick ice cream cone. When we got back, I helped Nan sort out her iPad (she’ll be a silver surfer yet!) and petted their cat.

This week was more chilled, with me spending a lot of time milling around the house and napping, as well as playing on Sims 4. There were plenty of opportunities to write, but as I felt so behind, I barely had the motivation to write very much, so only added about 600 odd words to the last word count total. It’s not good enough, and there is two weeks to go before the end of the project, so I need to get a wiggle on!

But now I’m back in Bath, the distractions should be minimal, as most people are still away, making campus nice and quiet, so I can slip off to Commons or the library for a change of scene so I can sit and write as much as I can. I’m not sure that I’ll hit my target final word count, but I can sure as heck try to write as many words as humanly possible. I’ll probably get started tonight after my shower…

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How To Write a Novel in 30 Days #1

Day #1 is here!

I’m in Portsmouth staying with my aunt and uncle for a week or so, so I’m using the change of scenery to help me focus in the initial stages of the project.

So, my aunt woke me up at half seven, and I rolled out of bed at eight, and started writing at nine. I had a mug of very sweet coffee, a couple of biscuits, some notes and my laptop, and got down to business.

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By ten, I had about half and a bit of the day’s target total, 1035.

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My initial aim was to have it all down by eleven, but it was about half past eleven when I hit gold…

With 83 extra words to the chapter! Huzzah!

I feel really good at this point. I’ve noticed how much easier it has been today after taking my ADHD medication first thing before sitting down to write. Starting a routine of writing a chapter a day will also probably help, as will writing a summery of each chapter down in my notes to remind me of where I’m at in the story so I don’t get side tracked. I can also write a quick line of how I want to work the next chapter, so I have an idea of where I’d like the story to go, but allowing the opportunity for my imagination to run wild and add other parts. It’s nice to be focused, and do things in manageable chunks. Says me on Day #1. By the end of the week I may feel differently, but who knows? At the moment I’m feeling pretty darn good about everything.

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I’m looking happy at the moment, though how long that’ll last, I haven’t a clue. Milly had better behave herself in the next few weeks, otherwise we might just fall out. Writing an ADHD character as someone with ADHD is proving to be an interesting experience. As I’m handing parts of the book in for university work, I won’t be sharing excerpts until I’ve had my marks back, just to be on the safe side of not self plagerising, yay?

The story was initially going to be a chic lit style novel, although already in the first chapter I feel the genre is going in a whole new direction, probably just a comedy, to be honest. Even though ADHD isn’t always fun to live with, you can get an awful lot of material from personal experience for both stand up and general comedic writing. I really need to hone my comedy writing skills, so I’m hoping this novel will be very good practice!

So, Day #1 is done, bring on Day #2!

Stats

Starting Word-Count = 0

Target Word-Count of the Day = 2000

Word-Count Total = 2083

Total Words Written Today = 2083

Minimum Word-Count Target for Tomorrow = 1917

How To Write a Novel in 30 Days – UPDATE!

So, just came out of my meeting with my IP tutor…

I’VE BEEN GREENLIGHTED!

YEEEAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Though, on one condition…

He’s asked me to up the wordcount to 60,000 words…

Yes, you read that right, 60,000 words.

That’s 2000 words EVERY SINGLE DAY.

And that’s on top of the Journal, blogging and general life. No pressure then!

I’ve never upped my word-count before, considering that when I usually take on NaNoWriMo, or the Camp equivalent, I get to about the 15/20k mark before I end up throwing the towel in, and hiding in my room for the rest of the month, so that no one can spot me and ask how the novel is getting on.

But, this time, there is more at stake than just the half-written manuscript. My grade, my reputation at university is also on the line if I don’t succeed in this challenge.

My IP tutor said one main thing to me:

‘Just get those 2000 words a day written!’

And, you know what? I may be terrified, nervous, wanting to throw it all out and run in the opposite direction, but by Gods I won’t! I am more determined to prove that you can indeed write a novel in 30 days. Even if you have ADHD, a messy flat, piles of paperwork and a weird life in general.

I am a writer, and it’s about time I started actually being one.

Writer’s Q&A!

Lynette over at her blog (http://lynettenoni.wordpress.com/) did this Q&A and encouraged us to think about our own responses. So, to pass the time on a sunny afternoon, I didn’t see why I shouldn’t give this a good go. This ought to help my readers see the writer side of me, and to see an insight into my life. So, enjoy!

1. Where do you write?

Call me clichéd, but I love writing in coffee shops. It gives me ample opportunity to people watch (a favourite sport of mine!), drink good coffee, and get my focus on my writing rather than on everything else around me. That said, I now have started to carry my trusty fountain pen and a notebook in my handbag now, so whenever a poem comes to mind, I can whip out my writing equipment and jot it down before I forget it. I like writing outside too, in the sunshine with a drink in one hand, pen and paper in the other.

2. What are your writing habits?

I like to drink fizzy pop if I’m writing at home, in the late hours, with cola being my drink of choice. I’ll drink all sorts of types of tea as well, although I’ve gotten back into coffee after two years of hating the stuff (I take it milky with a LOT of sugar). I also like to have a bowl of sugary snacks next to the PC, so I nibble and pick whilst I’m writing. Sherbert lemons are a favourite during all-nighters, whilst during the day I quite like jelly beans. Sometimes I shake things up and buy Doritos…

I write in solid bursts for 20 minutes, and take breaks for 10 minutes. It’s how lawyers get through all their paperwork, and how me and my friends work when we meet up for a study session. I like it because you race to get as much on the page as possible, before clearing your head for 10 minutes, and getting back to work. You don’t frazzle your brain, and you get more done! Result!

 

3. How do you write your first drafts?

When I’m writing poetry, I tend to hand draft it first, and type it up later. I find that when you go back to type up a poem later, you sometimes end up adding or taking words away, adding or taking lines away. I even once added a whole new stanza into a poem during the type-up. When I’m writing short stories, I take a similar approach, but when writing longer stories/novels, I write notes about what I want to happen in each chapter, much like a flow-chart, then write it straight onto the computer. Sometimes the plot will take control and deviate from the chart, but most of the time I write ‘the bare bones’, then go back later if something happens later on that I should add into the previous chapter.

4. Which writers have most influenced you or inspired you?

In my early teens, I would of said Jane Austen. My first NaNoWriMo was an attempt at Regency Romance, which failed miserably. But as I’ve been at university, and been able to meet writers, and listen and read a wider variety of work, I’ve realised that recently I’ve been influenced by Allen Ginsburg, and Jack Kerouac, two of the Beat Generation writers, writing experimental poetry and prose, pushing literary boundaries and changing the way that we see literature. Sometimes, though, I’m inspired more by individual works rather than writers as a whole. I loved The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer, who won the Costa 2013 Prize with it, and now teaches at my university, which was about a nineteen year old man living with mental health issues, writing his story. I loved the way that professional paperwork weaved into the protagonist’s own writing, and the use of different fonts to show that he was writing in different formats. This would be something I’ll attempt in the future. Another book series I’m obsessed with is C.J Sansom’s Shardlake series. These five novels, set in Henry VIII’s England, are thriller-mysteries involving a hunchback lawyer, Matthew Shardlake solving mysteries involving the politics of the day, all whilst living in a turbulent age. It’s a relief from all the historical romances out there, all the Philippa Gregory novels that actually irritate the heck out of me for not being properly accurate (I worked in a Tudor museum as a tour guide for a while, so hate inaccuracy about the period). And romance novels when not read on holiday, make me want to vomit. Just saying. So C.J Sansom (who is also a lovely guy, I met him whilst on the job!), has inspired me to try my hand at historical writing.

5. What genre(s) do you (aspire to) write?

I’m currently dabbling in writing historical fiction. I also enjoy experimental writing, both poetry and prose (I seem to be better at experimental poetry). I would like to attempt fantasy again, after writing a fantasy novel aged 17, and re-reading it and cringing at the Mary Sue characters, terrible clichéd plots and over complicated story lines, I might give it another go.

6. What’s your biggest challenge as a writer?

Writer’s Block. I also have issues with worrying that my work isn’t good enough, that it is badly written, or that the plot doesn’t flow right, or the character’s speech being wrong. I worry about inaccuracy, especially when I’m writing historical fiction, so spend way too much time googling everything rather than actually writing.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t be afraid of criticism, as long as it’s constructive. And never, I mean, NEVER allow non-writer friends or your partner read your WIP, as you’ll only get glowing reports, which is actually more destructive than someone telling you that certain things just don’t work. I have a couple of close writer friends at university who I let look over any work that I might submit at university for feedback, because they are honest, and straight with me. Leave work for a few weeks without reading it, then re-read it with fresh eyes, as then you are more likely to see flaws in plot, construction, etc, and feel more ready to edit. Writing is re-writing, but never do it alone. I tend to do my re-writing with my friends, for support and kicking up the ass when someone puts a cool Youtube video up that I struggle to resist watching.

And enjoy it! Don’t carry on writing something your heart isn’t in, you should be enjoying your work, feeling passionate about what you are writing. Or, if you’re writing to a brief, find a subject in that brief you feel you can enjoy writing about, for whatever reason.

 

 

 

And, on that note, I’d love to hear your responses to this! I’ll be going back to writing the rest of this short story now, and get it sent off for feedback. That’s if I’m not watching cute cat videos…

31 Day Blog Challenge #3

Day 3 of the challenge, a day late, simply because last night was SO busy! We had a couple of friends and their kids over for dinner, so the kitchen needs a good tidy up, and I need to dye my hair ahead of tonight’s Film Festival (very exciting, will blog about it later on!).

Anyways, Day 3 is all about my favourite quote. I have many quotes that I love, for example, ‘Come to the Darkside, we have Cookies!’ (I even have a poster of this my older sister bought me for my 16th birthday, and it hangs proudly on my wall at home). I even bought a bus pass with ‘Come to the Dorkside, we have Computer games’ which I lost when my bus pass went missing.

But my most favourite quote has to be the following:

‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword’

As a writer, this is a phrase that means an awful lot to me. Heck, I need a tattoo of this somewhere on my body, with a beautiful fountain pen (one of those really old-fashioned ones), but I need to get a design first (and the funds, sigh).

It is true that words can affect one more than someone could do physically. We don’t make the next move in a relationship until someone uses the words ‘I love you’. We take action for political and social issues by writing letters and petitions. As a member of Amnesty International, I understand how important a letter, email or signature can be in saving someone’s life. I’ll add a story I wrote about a human rights activist on this blog soon, but that’s by the by for now.

So, that is my favourite quote. What’s your’s?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!

31 Day Blog Challenge #2

Day 2 of the challenge, which involves me writing 20 facts about myself.

Best I get on with it then…

1. I was born on 30th October 1993, making me 19 years, 6 months of age

2. I grew up in foster care from the age of three years, and stayed there until I was eighteen.

3. My home county is Hampshire, basically, Jane Austen country

4. I loved books from a very young age. My school reports note that literary pursuits were my favourites at school

5. I was eight years old when I wrote my first short story about my ‘dramatic’ arrival into the world (turns out I wasn’t born with a forceps delivery, I just was born a month early)

6. I was diagnosed with autism when I had just turned three

7. I wrote my first full length novel when I was seventeen, based on short stories I wrote when I was at special needs secondary school based on my classmates and a rather cruel girl who picked on me for being ‘geeky’

8. I have been working as a volunteer tour guide at the Mary Rose Museum for nearly three months, and as a costumed interpreter for two

9. I am mad about Miranda Hart and anything she has worked on (am miserable that I won’t see her live tour due to lack of funds)

10. I have just finished two long years at college studying film and television production (which I hated in the end)

11. I hope to get into university next academic year to study either English Literature or Creative Writing

12. I failed both last year’s NaNoWriMo, as well as April’s Cam NaNoWriMo

13. But I ought to be able to win this time, I might just have to be a library rat for a while

14. I spend my life bouncing between Josh’s and my carer’s houses

15. I got into gaming late last year

16. I am a shameless Austen fangirl

17. I am starting my gender bending cosplay collection

18. I am Pagan and Proud

19. I also practice witchcraft

20. I have mousy brown hair (well, before I dyed it)

So, that is Day 2. Stay tuned for Day 3!

31 Day Blog Challenge

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So, I spotted this on 18yearsyoung’s blog, and thought that it would be a pretty cool thing for me to have a go at, especially as I’ve only just started this blog nearly a month ago, so it might help you guys get to know me a bit better!

I’ll have to do Day One later, when I will be able to take a photo of myself in order to start it all off for real, but for now, stay tuned!