Monday, 27 April 2009

Editing Novel 1

No I’m not. Editing novel 1, I mean. Not yet anyway. But one of my favourite blogs on writing, The Blood Red Pencil has printed a brilliant post on editing. And I was especially drawn to the fact you should avoid weak verbs like ‘ing’ words, and check for too many 'ly' words.

And, guess what? In novel 1 I’ve got 2760 ‘ing’ words and 1760 ‘ly’. I know because I swapped my ‘ings’ and ‘lys’ for the word ‘turnip’ and then panicked for a bit because I couldn’t return it to normal. (All’s well now though – I used the little arrow-back thingy.)

So, although now at a stupendous 64,400k, I’m upping the completed first draft goal to 85,000, as I can see a lot of culling going on around June time.

Okay, I’m off quick’ly’ now as I’m do’ing’ lots of work’ing’ today – I’m prepar’ing’ for my lovely Aunt and Uncle. They are com’ing’ over from Australia, stay’ing’ for two week’ly’s. Love’ly’'ly'

Saturday, 25 April 2009

A363 Advanced Creative Writing with the Open University

I was asked by a fellow blogger yesterday what I thought of the Open University’s Advanced Creative Course A363. And my response was,

‘It’s Blumin’ BRILLIANT.’

I’ve been lucky. I’ve had the same fab tutor for both A215 and A363. He’s a writer of successful plays that are regularly broadcast on BBC Radio. He’s very critical, and not one for lavishing praise, which, I have to say, took a bit of getting used to – As, quite frankly, I love praise – don’t we all?! But once I saw EVERYTHING he said was 100% valid – I took everything on board.

I’ve learnt SO much from both courses. And I'm sure I wouldn’t have sold two stories if I hadn’t done A215.

And A363 has taught me how to write plays for screen, film and stage – which I may just try one day! Oh, and how to splice the strands of a novel – which has helped me greatly with novel 1.

Yes, I would 100% recommend both courses, especially as, if you do both you get a ‘Creative Writing and Literature Diploma.’ YAY!

Although, it has to be said, both courses are blinking HARD WORK! Or is that just me?!

Oh, and you can find out a bit more about A363 here!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Guilty as Charged

I need to smack myself about a bit. Yes, I’ve been procrastinating - just a little!

I’ve been dreaming how my book cover will look, should I ever get that far - HA! Although there's nothing wrong with dreaming is there? If you don't have a dream - how you gonna have a dream come true?

Right, back to writing.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Writing, Writing and More Writing

I’ve been such a busy girlie. I’ve been working so hard on novel 1. Poor novel 2 has now faded into the background. For now anyway.

I’ve written 60,000 words + and I’m actually pleased with how it’s going – that’s a first! I’ve even written a prologue – which I’ve never tried before. And I’m taking a leaf out of the lovely Karen’s book and setting myself a deadline. I want it finished and ready to send to agents by August 2009. Gawd, did I really just say that?

I’ve also sent a short story to the Frome Festival competition, which I saw advertised on Sally’s brilliant competition calendar.

Plus, I’ve now written the first draft of my final assignment for my Open University.

So I’ve been busy then - So busy in fact that I’ve now got a muzzy head, which is so annoying because that means I’ll have to stay away from the computer for a bit. RATS!

In other news, I went to see a great murder mystery play at our local theatre. We were all given little pads and pens and had to guess who did it. Cool. I didn’t win. In fact, I’m not sure I know who did it even now! ;-)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Show Don't Tell

Ooh, I’ve had a light-bulb moment. It came to me last night! Just like that! Well not exactly just like that. But I realised despite being told emphatically by my tutor and every ‘how to write ‘ book I’ve ever read, that I should SHOW not TELL. I’m STILL guilty of TELLING far too much, ma Lord.

At the moment, my story is set in the present and the protagonist TELLS the reader what happened in the past. But last night, I thought why not set some chapters in the past and SHOW the reader what happened there. I’m also tempted to change the whole thing into a third person viewpoint (it is presently in the first).

So, massive re-write coming on me thinks! Crumbs! Better get on with my final OU assignment first though, which is like a scary phantom haunting my dreams! I know, I need to work on my metaphors too!

And here's a great post over at Blood Red Pencil about Show vs Tell.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Novel 2, and The Incredible Shrinking Word Count

Now I may be a little on the crazy side, stop sniggering TF! But I’m going to make a start on Novel 2. YES, I know I haven’t finished Novel 1 yet!

But the thing is you see, the ideas for Novel 2 are jumping up and down inside my head saying, ‘write me, write me now!’ And I’m so worried that while I’m boosting the word count of Novel 1, all the creativity I’m feeling for Novel 2 will disappear.

Ooh, and talking of boosting the word count of Novel 1. Well, I’m NOT. In fact, Novel 1 is shrinking. It’s fine though. I think! I’ve just re-drafted to zap all those pesky ‘thats’ as advised on this great post at The Blood Red Pencil.

Right, I’ll just pop another one of Leigh’s word counters on my profile for Novel 2. And then I’ll nip off and write both novels to completion - in the words of Tommy Cooper, ‘Just like That!’ HA!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Ghosts at Minsden Chapel

I'm so interested in GHOSTIES and STUFF. It must be my over-active imagination. I plan for Novel no.2 to have a ghost theme, and I've written a few short stories that involve the paranormal.

Now, I really have to tell you about my latest experience at the VERY haunted location of Minsden Chapel in Hertfordshire.

A bit about Minsden Chapel’s history and its phantoms can be found here. MINSDEN STUFF

It's one of my favourites haunted locations. And I love to visit on a bright, spring afternoon. Note, I did not say at night – I’m far too chicken for that.

Anyway, we’d had a couple of weird experiences on our prior visit there. The strangest being that one of our party came away with a red line around their neck, that seemed to appear from nowhere. It was as though someone had tied something around his neck and pulled it tight. This was made stranger by the fact hangings used to take place up there. And, once home, a subsequent search of the internet revealed others have experienced the same thing.

So, back to last Sunday’s visit. Some weirdy things happened!

1. We set up a video camera which recorded us milling around the chapel. I, in true Yvette Fielding fashion, called out, ‘If there’s anyone there please give us a sign.’ Nothing happened. Or so we thought. But when we got home and looked at the film, just after I call out the camera SO obviously moves. Several inches in fact, in a horizontal fashion. Strange.

2. One of our party said their neck itched. On looking we saw another clear, red line around her neck.

3. Several strange pictures were taken. One shows a glowing cross, another a figure at the edge of the page. One a full on figure and another has two strange glowing lights. (Go on, look hard, get in the spirit of the blog post - and no the cross isn't the sun!)

4. Voices were heard and all of us thought we saw things out of the corner of our eyes.

A lot of mumbo jumbo do you reckon? All fab for stimulating those writing juices, don't you think?

Edited to add more pictures 9th April.

Ghostly photos are copyright to the blog author - If you wish to copy please link back to this blog - thanks.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Fairy Wishes

When I SOLD my first EVER story, I bought this...

Yes, it's Tinkerbell! A Fairy!

I wished on my fairy, asking that I would sell another story...

....and hey presto, I SOLD my second EVER story!

So when I get my payment for my second EVER story, I'm going to buy meself another fairy ... perhaps one for the garden. And then I'm going to make another watch this space!

Does anyone else buy a keepsake to remember their successes by? Or am I quite mad? Don't answer that?

Thursday, 2 April 2009

49,000 WORDS!

I have written 49,000 words of my novel. Good, yeah?

I have a beginning, a middle and an end. And I have written the final chapter!

I have nothing more to add to my actual plot-line and I have no more characters to invent.

HOWEVER – This is what I believe a tutor would say about my work:

-Some of your chapters, Amanda, are merely a paragraph long – This occurs especially after Chapter Seventeen – and really isn’t acceptable.

-Your descriptions, as a whole, lack lustre.

-Your speech needs to be interspersed with descriptive prose.

-Show don’t Tell!

-Your characterisation needs lots of work.

-BUT – Amanda, this can only be a good thing, because the finished product needs to be around 80,000 words.

-Now get your head down and add 30,000 more words. And while you’re at it stop procrastinating!

Right, off to write some more, Sir - Would you like an apple?!