What Do I Want To Do?

pen writingFollowing on from my post last week on Who Am I, I have decided to tell you a little bit about my plans for next year.

This year, I have embarked on a writing course by Courses Direct and I have been enjoying this, although I do need to pick up the pace a bit on this!  I have been thinking a great deal about my writing and where I want to go with it.  And I would like to set up an Indie publishing company at some stage.

So next year, I am looking at doing a course on copy editing and proof reading.  This is something I have been interested in for a while, and I can do this through Courses Direct as well.

I also hope to continue writing and working as a teacher aide, but I want to extend myself a little, and as my depression and antidepressants have really restricted my mental abilities, and I have been unable to concentrate enough to do a more in-depth course, like Psychology(!?!), then doing something that is within my field of interest would be a great way to push myself along.  It will hopefully help with my own writing abilities and skills, but would also lead to taking on freelance work and being able to work from home, and make some extra money.

I also plan to continue writing articles for The Rural.  I have been asked to provide articles on healthy alternatives to cleaning products, and when I investigated my own cupboards at home, I found I have at least 6 books on this already, so I am happy I can come up with something!

I want to cut back on some responsibilities I currently have, like BGAC (Boys and Girls Agricultural Club) and only do the admin side of the show rather than run the Mini-show.  But that might have to be another year, so I can train someone up to take my place.  I will still retain my interests in the Friends of the School for the local school I work at (like a PPTA / PTA but more casual) and KiwiWriters, because these are groups that I am passionate about.

So next year is looking like a busy one, but I can handle that.  I want to start achieving and setting some personal goals for myself, not just writing goals.

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10 Day Writers Blogging Challenge – Day 6

10-day-write-blog-challenge-daily6Profile 4 Writing Websites / Blogs that you read regularly

Make this tougher by only profiling community or larger websites, dismissing blogs of your writer friends (only for now!). Profile websites that you get information from. For brownie points, add how you read them (feed reader, newsletter updates, emails, on-site?).

Hmmm, 4?  Bit of a push, but will see what I can find.  First the one I really love, and subscribe to is The Other Side of the Story  I get an email every day covering topics such as writing characters, learning new techniques, point of view etc.  I love this site because it sends me regular emails (about 3 a week) based on the blog that Janice Hardy has on her site.

I would be rather remiss to not mention KiwiWriters.  Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE KiwiWriters?  They have a fabulous new site, which has monthly writing challenges, blog posts from regular contributors, forums where people can connect up and they have a presence on facebook and twitter.  What more could a kiwi writer want?  I am the administrator of this site, so I get to see most of the content before it goes up  🙂

WoW or Women on Writing is another cool site with lots of interesting articles on writing and they have a facebook page with links to the articles they produce.  They also have competitions and interviews with other female writers.  I tend to follow this more through facebook than through any other feeds.

websitesThe last site I recommend is NaNoWriMo which stands for National Novel Writing Month (which is November).  The NaNo site gives you information on writing challenges coming up for the year, a forum for you to enter and discuss all sorts of writing conundrums, pep talks and just general socialness for writers during the month of November.  NaNo is something I intend to participate in this year, so only just recently signed up, but loving what I am seeing already.

So there are four sites I visit a lot about writing – but I also visit some other very interesting sites that may be of interest to you too:

ProWritingAid – this wonderful site helps you to analyse your work, find out where there are faults and just pick apart anything that needs to be picked apart (overuseage of certain words like was), uses of cliche’s, sentence length indicators, grammar.  Wonderful little site.

Storytoolz – a busy little site, that has also analyse your work, but on a more basic level.  Also has a plot generator, word count widgets and readability function.  Useful if you need another conflict to throw at a character.

If you are a NZ Historical writer, a wonderful resource is Papers Past.  I could live on this site permanently – I love the prose and the bias of the early journalists.  Just about every paper ever published in New Zealand has been scanned and uploaded to this site.  Lots of wonderful articles and news events to research here.

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.

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.

NZ Book Month – Some Time with Anna Caro

I first met Anna through KiwiWriters, and then SpecFicNZ.  She seemed to be everywhere, writing, editing, producing books – how does this busy woman manage?

Anna Caro

Anna Caro

I think I was about five when I won second place in a writing competition organised by a local bookshop, writing a story about Mogg the cat (from the Judith Kerr series) pretending to be a horse. I drafted my first novel at ten, about German children hiding in Wales during World War II. It was heavily plagiarised, awful enough for me to wish I had a copy to laugh at, but nevertheless a novel.

There have been times in my life I haven’t written much, or have found it hard to write at all, but I can’t remember a time a love of writing didn’t exist in some form.

 There is a large list of published work on your website  – which one are you most proud of and why?

Tales for CanterburyThat’s a really tough question. I think I’m proud not necessarily of the best works, but of those I really needed to push myself to produce. ‘Blueprints’ (published in Fat Girl in a Strange Land) not only covered some topics I didn’t find exactly easy, but also represents a real change in my writing style, where I stopped being so bogged down with detail and really found the voices of my characters coming through. And then there’s Tales for Canterbury where I really surprised myself not just with the speed we managed to put it together, but also the number of people who came on board. I’m not the best person at approaching people, to put it mildly, but I’m glad I pushed past that.

What made you decide to be part of an editing team as well as writing?

I can’t remember how I came up with the idea for A Foreign Country, but I felt there was a place for it. I talked over it with my partner (who is an editor but not a writer) for some time before we put the ideas into action.

I thought that was going to be a one off, but then Tales for Canterbury happened. It was February 22nd 2011, and I was sitting at work, achieving precisely nothing besides signal boosting a few tweets. Then Cassie (she of excellent ideas) sent me an email which, to quote in part, said “So I had the idea that I could get a bunch of writers to put in stories for an anthology and donate all earnings to disaster relief.” That evening, I emailed to say I was in.

I’m currently editing a sequel to A Foreign Country, Regeneration (due out in July) and last year I was on the editorial board for JAAM #30. Maybe next year I won’t edit anything and just concentrate on writing!

What is different about your writing from general writing and why?

I’m not so sure what general writing is, but one of the features of my writing is having characters who make unusual decisions, and making those decisions make sense to the reader. At the moment, I’m particularly interested in exploring non-normative bodies, and how they interact with the world.

Do you find it hard to write Speculative Fiction or does it come easily for you?

Can be either really. I mull stories a lot before writing, so sometimes I can just sit down and write short in a couple of hours which needs very little editing. That’s rare though, and at the other extreme, I can often get really stuck on plot points, or even a plot at all (I tend to start from characters and setting).

 What are you working on at the moment?

Lots of things! I’ve just finished the edits on a novella (‘This Other World’) to be published in a Crossed Genres anthology later this year. As my writing group has determined 2013 to be the Year of the Novel, I’m working on a scene by scene plan of the novel I’m tentatively calling ‘Liquid City’. The best way I can describe it is space opera meets steampunk and becomes something else entirely. Then there are a couple of short stories in the works – on a space-colonisation story, the other near-future science fiction with some cyborg-like elements.

Anna has a website at http://www.annacaro.org

KiwiWriters

KiwiWriters is a group that is close to my heart.  I learnt about them after trawling through the internet looking for NZ based writing groups, and KiwiWriters was IT – the ONE!  I was so pleased to find it because I lived in a rural location, and it isn’t easy to drive to the local town to meet up with a writing group.

KiwiWriters was the support group I needed, the support I needed.  The Forums were full of fun topics, interesting information and ideas to work on.  It was so fabulous, I asked to join the Admin.

Three years down the track from me joining up, things are ticking along.  But that is the problem.  Instead of growing and expanding, we are almost contracting, and I really can’t stand to see this happen.

When I first joined on, the admin was 6 or 7 strong.  We are now down to 4 and we are trying to do all of the tasks on our own, and it is getting harder.

What we need is fresh new blood, people who are keen to see this wonderful resource grow and build again.  You don’t have to take on a job, just join the admin and inject some new excitement into our team.

There are some changes coming, some will like it, others won’t, but it is for our sanity as well as for our dedicated members.  If you would like to join the team, let me know ASAP. You don’t have to be from NZ, just being a writer would help.

Please, our team needs some long overdue support and encouragement.  Let us know that we mean something to you too.

August 2012 Goals

August sees the beginning of “The End is Nigh” challenge over at KiwiWriters, and I have offered to host this challenge.  It has taken me some agonising (yeah right), but I have chosen KQ&N to finish off.  Which means editing it to a Beta Reader state.

1.Edit “Of Kings Queens and Noblemen” – 1/2 way through read through.

2. Finish my Ice Planet Story

3. Edit Ice Planet – 1/2 way through

4. Edit the Gothic novel (Tobias and Arabella – aka the bloody gothic novel)

5. Finish writing “Son of God”

6. Edit Medusa’s Garden.

7.  Revise and edit Medusa as a romance novel(!?!)

It is really awesome to see two items crossed off my list.    It gives me a sense of accomplishment and knowing that I am keeping up with my goals.  If I can get KQ&N crossed off during August, I will be extremely happy.