Where is the year going?

C Mead final logoI think that I wrote a post with exactly the same theme last year!  But where is the year going?

I haven’t been up to much lately, and once more I have changed my web format.  while I liked the old one, it wasn’t really what made me happy, so I chose another one, and I kinda like it!

Curse of the TaniwhaI have made a decision about Curse of the Taniwha.  You see, I was having issues with it.  I knew where I wanted the story to go, but it wasn’t really gathering pace or steam like I wanted it to.  I went back to the original plotting phase I had on it, and realised that I had two sub plots.  The relationship between Rena and Rob, and Rena and the taniwha.  This made a bit more sense to me, so I have gone back to the beginning, and instead of having a prologue, I have started with the prologue as chapter one, and written more about Rob and Rena getting together.  The start of chapter three or four will be about 6 months down the track, showing the change in the relationship.  This will show the contrast between the relationship that Rena and the taniwha have.

I am feeling a little more excited about this story now, and I also have a rather a big ending on it, with a bit of a brainwave in regards to the connection between Rob and the Taniwha – oh yeah, there is a connection, and it is a doozy.

On the creative front, I have started doing patchwork.  Why?  I really don’t know, but I am enjoying it.  I just got to get used to colour values, lights and darks and working from there.  Still, my first effort wasn’t too bad, considering I hand stitched it, and I am not a very good sewer, however I can only get better with practice.

I have been looking further into self publishing, and have found a great site with details on how to build an Authors Platform.  I have decided to do a series on these, featuring on a Saturday, just about how I am creating my image, and getting my writing off the ground.  Hopefully, by the time I am finished, I will have a great authors website for my followers  🙂

Anyway, I have other jobs I need to get on with right now.  Hope everyone has a good writing week.  🙂

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10 Day Writing Blogging Challenge – Day 8

10-day-write-blog-challenge-daily8Post about your writing routines / rituals / habits or quirks – or –  your writing origins story

Writers are renowned for their sometimes odd rituals and habits. In fact, I’ve done several posts about these previously.  Here’s a post on wacky writer’s rituals which contains a PDF file to download of many famous and odd rituals shared by our fellow writers.

Alternatively, tell us your writing origins story – when and why did you start writing? When did you officially announce or label yourself as a writer? in public?

Wow, two possible options here, without the Pay it Forward option!  So why don’t I spill my guts about my writing.

Long ago, in a college far, far away… Actually, it didn’t really start like that, but from a young’un, I have always loved writing, having Mum type up stories about Ally Cat while I made covers for them.  At college, I took the option of writing a novella for my Form 6 English project.  I did quite well on it, better than the other two projects.  Straight out of school I went to work in one place or another, and while I had books with pencilled stories in them, I didn’t really get back into writing again until my 30’s when my husband pointed out to me, that I would never get published unless I started writing.  He actually had a good point!

The first story I wrote – I actually rewrote my College Novella – Chrystias of Amasedon as a trilogy, which I then shortened down to a large novel.  None of the novels were stand alone, so it didn’t quite sit right.  It was my first attempt at serious writing, and stupidly I put a chapter up on Critters – where it got savaged.  Fortunately that taught me to toughen up (or get tougher skin, one of the two), and critiquing isn’t a problem for me any more.

throneJust then I didn’t want to work on that story any more, so I started a new one.  Of Kings, Queens and Noblemen – SoCNoC 2009.  I hated it and just left it to wallow in its folder on my computer.  I pulled it out last year and started editing it.  It wasn’t as bad as I originally thought, but it is a sweet romance.

MedusaSoCNoC (June) 2010 I wrote Medusa – based on the original Greek tragedy – from a human perspective.  There were lessons to be learned with Medusa, and I later rewrote this as a romance for an Entangled Publishing submission call.  I didn’t like the romance version, so will revise it again (as I kept the original) to make the tragedy deeper.

I attempted to write a Gothic Novel – Tobias and Arabella – In October 2010 – which spilled over into 2011.  I ended up calling it “That bloody Gothic Novel” – not because it was “bloody” but because it just didn’t want to finish!  This hasn’t been revised yet, and I need to.  It is based on the 1500’s when King Henry VIII was abolishing the monasteries.

2011 was a big year for me.  I planned to write a few stories this year.  I started in June with Ice Planet – for SoCNoC 2011.  I wrote excitedly for the month, and ended up with a 60k story I was proud of.  I was so excited about it, but during August, my laptop crashed, and I hadn’t realised that I hadn’t backed up the story since the 27k mark.  I therefore lost most of the novel.  I rewrote this during HalfNoC 2012, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good.  I didn’t write through 2011 until the June 2012 because I couldn’t.  I was in the depth of my depression and really couldn’t focus on anything that I enjoyed.

At the beginning of this year, I started out with the New Year Novella over at KiwiWriters – and I wrote The Gamble.  This is an exciting piece which I enjoyed writing, but realise that there is a lot missing from it.  Hopefully it will become bigger with the addition of a new character.  Definitely a sweet romance.

pikuroaCursed Love – SoCNoC 2013 – This was a story that just came to me out of the blue, and I just had to write it.  I got the idea originally about a curse, so I wrote a romance around this family curse.

Right now, I am working on Whose that Girl – a submission call for Entangled Publishing, which closes in February 2014.  I’m writing it now, so I can get it critiqued and tidied up before I submit, because February is only 5 months away!

– o0o-

My Writing Process –

I like to listen to music, but it needs to be quiet around me otherwise.  I can’t write with lots of action going on around me, I need a relatively still setting, hence the joy I have in writing at the School staffroom when I am not officially working.  It doesn’t really matter, or have to relate to the story, just as long as there is music in my ears, I can feel creative.

Having Pinterest helps too.  But first I set up a file and save pictures into it, pictures that give me inspiration or ideas, and then I pin them to Pinterest so that others can see what I have used, and how I have incorporated that into my story.

I like to plan my stories, I can’t write unless I have a beginning, a middle and an end already in mind.  If I don’t, the story just doesn’t get finished.  I use the planning sentences to create scenes for my chapters and then work from there.

I write using Scrivener.  I can’t say it is any better or any worse than yWriter, but I like it, and I like using it.  Once I know how it all works, I will no doubt find it more interesting.

Now I have my new laptop, I prefer to use that, and I back up regularly (at least once a week if not daily when I am writing – call me paranoid!)  I like that it is transportable and I have the freedom to write wherever I need to whenever I need to.

As for writing quirks –   I guess I like to submerge myself into the culture of my stories.  While doing the Gothic story, I got interested in Gothic clothing, hairstyles and makeup – even Ice Planet has a gothic kind of tone to it.  While researching 1920’s I have listened to the music, watched makeup and hairstyling tips from the 1920’s.

Goals Update – September 2013

Its hard to believe that I haven’t really done a goals update for a while (apparently it was January / February!!!)  Anyway, my goals update is as follows:

1.  Complete Ice Planet 

2.  New Year Novella – The Gamble – 10000 (and growing)

3. Evil Editors Unite – March -The Gothic Novel –  I actually edited the Ice Planet

4. NZ Book Month, NZ authors blog a day!  I got about 20 writers in the end, was absolutely fabulous – thanks to all the fabulous authors who supported my site during this time.

5.  SoCNoC – Cursed Love

Who's that Girl6. the End is Nigh – I originally intended to edit the Ice Planet, but instead I edited The Gamble / Cursed Love and plotted out another story – Who’s That Girl

I have pretty much accomplished all my goals, so I decided to push myself a little bit so I decided to write for NaNoWriMo in November.  My plan was to write a steampunk story, but then decided I wanted to write in September.  When the opportunity arose, I decided to make a go for it.  It was a submission call with a picture prompt for Who’s That Girl.  The picture was so fabulous, I could not resist and have a wonderful story bubbling away inside.  I can now write this story and will have to think of another one to write for NaNo!

So goals-wise

7.  Write Who’s that Girl in September (goal 25 – 35k)

8. Write 50k novel during NaNoWriMo in November.

The End is Nigh Update Week 3

pikuroaIt has been a busy couple of weeks, with school returning and a new work routine for me.  It takes me a couple of weeks to really get into a new routine and finding time to do other things like writing, assignments and most importantly, time for me.  Oh, and its whitebaiting season now too, so have had to help mend the net 🙂

I have finished editing The Gamble, and as previously blogged, I have some serious work to do on this, but I am happy with the new ideas.

I have a blog set up for critiquing, which is a closed blog, only those I invite are able to see the work and comment on it.

I am working on a new story idea – the Steampunk story just doesn’t seem to be coming together, but I found a submission call which had a cover as the inspiration, so I am in the process of planning this.  By the end of the month, I should have this finished because I want to start writing it next month.

Now, I am editing The Cursed Love, and have forwarded through the prologue to a Maori friend for translation of some of it.  I have had plenty of time over the weekend to do this, but I was procrastinating… I guess I love the story and I am scared I will find it is crappy or something.  It really shouldn’t be that bad.  There are no plot holes as far as I could see, so just need to pull my finger out.  I have done the first three chapters, so twelve left to go (I think).

Anyway, I found an interesting blog post over the weekend – 25 Editing Tips for Tightening Your Copy by The Write Life.  It is definitely well worth reading and printing out.

Musings About Cursed Love

Tom Hardy

(Yeah, gratuitous picture of Tom Hardy!)

I have only just realised something – sad and scary as it is.  I don’t want to finish my Cursed Love story.

Why?  Because I have enjoyed it so much, and I don’t want it to end.

I have the same problem with some books I read too.  I have two which remain unfinished, and probably always will be, because I don’t want the story to end.  It is truly a sign of a good book as far as I am concerned – not that I am saying my book is good or anything – but in both cases, I know what happens – they are both historically based books – but I just don’t want to know how the author has chosen to end it.  I want to keep the story alive in my head.  Both stories (Michael Korda’s Immortals and Sharon Penmans The Sunne in Splendour) are beautifully written, they tell the story from a different perspective than what you would expect.

Those aren’t the reasons I don’t want my story to end though.  I have really enjoyed writing it, and the journey that the story took me on.  And the journey that my characters went on too.  I learnt a lot about my characters on the way, and some things that I initially had in my characters backgrounds have changed because of the way the story has unfolded.

The story is rough, lots of was etc in it, but that is OK, a couple of times I have edited through it, I have tightened it up, and currently it stands at 40k – not the 60k I imagined, but I really don’t want to pad it out, I love where the story is at, the flow, pace and the storyline, and padding would only drain the readability of it.

I want to finish my story, and I am pleased that I have had a week off it, because I can write it now with an open mind and finish it richly and the way the story deserves.

During July, I intend to try and finish off Cursed Love and the Silkie story too, because August is The End is Nigh over at KiwiWriters.  I want to get these two stories edited so I can get them out to my critiquers.

Writing Romance? Kinda R18 post

pikuroaI wrote my first sex scene the other day, and to me, it seemed rather clinical (and no, I don’t intend to share it here.)  I knew that I hadn’t quite got it, but I was too busy trying to get the rest of my story written.  I guess I was trying to put the experience behind me, and move forward.

But last night, my friend Trish made me confront my scene, but swapping scenes with her.  I liked hers.  It was based in medieval times, to it was in a castle and the mood was set beautifully, and the scene was poetic.  And that is when it hit me.  Poetic is the key word.

Trish commented that she liked the scene to start with, but then it got clinical.  When I went back to have a look, I discovered that I had changed point of view part way through and this was where the wheels fell off.  At least it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought.

So what makes a good sex scene?  Romance.  And sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch.  Yes, engaging all of the senses, makes a scene memorable, plus stimulating the mind.  Which I think is the biggest difference between romance and porn.  Porn (and even Erotica) uses slang terms for body parts and is quite abrupt with the terminology.  Romance (and this is where Erotica is different from Porn) is more about the sensations that are caused and felt during the act.

The hardest thing for me, was letting someone else read it, but now that I have, I can easily fix the scene and now I know that I’m not too bad at it (probably not great either) but at least there is room for improvement.

writing continues on the Cursed Love, with words being added in mostly during lunch hours at work, but at least I am working on it.  I am near the end of my story, but it could still take another 10k – 15k, and then I will have to go back through and add some description, more of the senses and more of the lust etc.

Catch up Time

I entered the Page and Blackmore Short Story competition – and it sounds like the top 10 entries have already been decided.  Kind of excited to hear back, because the first 100 entries get feedback on their stories, with the top 10 getting more indepth.  I hope I am in the top ten, but I am not holding my breath.  Short stories aren’t my forte.

Yesterday, I finished the ending of my novella.  So now I only have the middle to work on.  I have some of it, but I need to incorporate more of the Gamble / risk (as I do to the ending too), and how she changes from being frightened to a confident woman.

Planning is also proceeding on The Cursed Love, with a wide awake session last week when my muse insisted that he didn’t want to be a player, but a widower instead.  It does fit in with the story, and he is able to sympathise with the heroine, I just wish he didn’t have to wake me at 1am to tell me… I guess the muse can strike anytime, anywhere.  The story seems to have taken on a life of its own, with lots of interesting twists and turns… just have to work out how to recover from them and progress the story.  I want to start writing this in June for SoCNoC.

Which leads me nicely to KiwiWriters.  The site will be up and running on 1st June, earlier if we can manage it.  It is coming together nicely and looks fabulous.  Hopefully it will be more interactive and user friendly and look a lot more like an NZ site, rather than a generic site.  There are lots of wonderful widgets and plugins that we have been able to use and the site does look magnificent (although I think I have already mentioned that!)

My articles have appeared on The Rural site, a list of my articles is available here.  It has been a very exciting time, and I have enjoyed writing these.  I intend to do a series on Women in Rural Businesses, and my first appointment is with a kinesiologist on Tuesday.  I am looking forward to the experience and to write about why she went into business in a rural area.