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.

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The End is Near…

No, I’m not talking about December 2012 – and I don’t believe in it either – I mean Medusa, the end is finally in sight!  The cut off date is 31st July 2012 for submissions, and I finished rewriting it last night.  Which means, that instead of my usual month to let things settle before I edit, I have 6 days.

Yikes 6 DAYS!

Can I do it?  Yes I can!

Funnily enough I have enjoyed rewriting this story and started plotting for my fairy story as well, until I had a well meaning friend tell me not to do the fairy story, which threw me a little.  Perhaps I need to reassess the storyline?  I don’t know, but I don’t want to put details on here in case someone steals the idea, but if anyone wants to know, comment and I will email you the storyline.

Back to Medusa.

It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride, and I suspect that the story drags in places, the ending has taken a while to write and strangely enough there are about 3 climaxes before the final one, which needs a little bit of work, but I think I have it.

The romance is there, but not the burning smouldering looks, the burning desire, but I guess I can work on that too.

Next month is the End is Nigh Challenge over at KiwiWriters, which I have offered to host.  And while I have several projects on the go, I am not sure which one I want to work on.  There is the Ice Planet, Tobias and Arabella (aka Bloody Gothic Novel) and Of Kings Queens & Noblemen (aka KQ&N) – I want to work on all of them, so perhaps I will use my 20 hours to flick between the three of them.  I wouldn’t mind getting the T&A one finished off to get it out to beta readers.  I guess we will see what happens during August.

Update on the depression – I have learned several new things this past week.  Restless Legs and Depression go hand in hand, and now I am on mild Parkinson’s medication to keep that under control at night.  The other thing I learnt was my short term memory is gone.  We had a Non Violent Physical Crisis Intervention course at the school recently and there was a test at the end of it.  I couldn’t remember a single thing from the theory.  Not good considering I want to start studying again next year.  Just might be a case of seeing how things go once I get off the medication (will fix the restless legs and the short term memory thing).

So this week the plan is to finish editing Medusa (Medusa’s Garden or Medusa and Perseus – would appreciate thoughts on the title) and get it away by next Monday.

Eeeek!  I’m about to submit my first story!   AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH

Medusa Update

All during the month of June I participated in HalfNoC, a 25k word challenge (Half a Novel), and I was using this to rewrite Medusa’s Garden into a romance, because one of my lovely friends had possibly found a place for it to be submitted.

So I wrote.  And I wrote, and the more I wrote the more I felt the novel drift out of my reach.  Why?  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it just wasn’t going where I wanted it to go, or do what I wanted it to do.  I had most of my major scenes happen in the middle of the story which meant the ending was going to be lame… Hmmm, how was I going to fix my dilemma?

Research had told me that Medusa lived on an island called Cisthene, just underneath the Turkish Coast.  Yet Perseus flew past Ethiopia on the way home and saved Andromeda.  So that didn’t make sense.  Why would be fly away from Athens to fly back there… Hmmm, another problem.

More research followed, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to make my story gel, until I found a very interesting point.  The island that Medusa lived on, could have been in the Red sea.  Now the Red Sea is bordered by Egypt, Sudan and… Ethiopia.  Click.

I now had a way to make my story go forward, but something wasn’t right with the rest of the story.  On Thursday night, I needed a real solution, something that would help me to see the story as I had currently written it, yet I could manipulate the story to change it around, move scenes.  Click.

I found one of my noticeboards and using lots of stick it notes, I wrote up the scenes I had already written (they were in a series of chapters) and scenes that would help to fill in the story.  I found some pins and starting working the story.

Suddenly, I realised that with a few new scenes and rearranging some of the key middle scenes to the end, I already had most of my story written.  I only have 5 key pieces to really finish my story, and by moving scenes, I am able to create more sexual tension.

It was a light bulb moment.  A moment that made me realise that the story could be worked, and I have been itching to get back to it ever since, and I would have yesterday, except I was feeling really grotty and needed a Nanna nap!  But I have a story now that I can work with.  And with a little luck, and some time to myself, I might just get it done in the next two weeks, plenty of time for me to get an edit through before I have to submit the story, but I am feeling more confident about the story than I did a week ago.

Goals Update – June 2012

1.  Revise and edit Medusa as a romance novel(!?!) – rewriting at present.

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

3. Finish my Ice Planet Story

4. Edit Ice Planet – 1/2 way through

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

6. Finish writing “Son of God”

7. Edit Medusa’s Garden.

OK, so I attempted HalfNoC and I didn’t complete it, but that doesn’t mean  that I failed.  I actually achieved 12k – which is pretty remarkable for someone who hasn’t written anything significant in nearly a year.  I am just excited about writing, but I have run into some problems with my Medusa rewrite – such as how do I make it a believable romance, and how does Medusa survive.  I have managed to work that part out (Medusa surviving), but it needs more romance and adventure.  I have also made Poseidon more jealous (if I can’t have her, nobody can), so that has added some adventure in itself.

I have until the middle of the month to finish it, as it has to be submitted by the end of the month, so guess I better get off this computer and onto my laptop!

 

A Valuable Lesson

I have recently started work at the local school, working with the Year 9’s (13 year olds)

Bangs Head on Desk by Tolan88 @ deviantart

and I am really enjoying this.  I work all day Monday, half day Tuesday, couple of hours on Wednesday.

Last week, I also had my Avon boss send through a ton of work that needed to be done, including meeting with her on Thursday to get some preparation done for the Sales Event (where we showcase some of the upcoming products and congratulate our top sellers).

By Monday night my brain was frizzled.  I was in bed by 7:30pm and asleep not long after, it was just such a tiring day (though not as tiring as working with the primary school!)

Tuesday I had a lot of paperwork and stuff to do and I was struggling to keep on top of things.  By Wednesday, I knew I had a day in town, so I did it, but I got home late and upset my son because I wasn’t there to pick him up from school.

I read somewhere the some stress is good in your life, but I learnt last week that stress is not a good thing for me.  If I hadn’t been on my antidepressants, I think I would have lost the plot totally and been a bawling mess by Tuesday.  Instead, I knew I was getting wound up and that I would have to keep going.

My Valuable Lesson?  Don’t take on too much, it just isn’t going to work for me.  Even being on the medication I felt very on the edge – if I hadn’t recently changed, I think it would have been rather disastrous, but I feel more in control with these new tablets, I can see the changes that I wasn’t quite getting on the last ones.

As a result of my extremely busy week, I didn’t get much writing done – none until Friday and since then I have accomplished 2500 odd words, and figured out how to make Medusa change without her head being removed – still as gory though, hopefully!  I love having some gore in the middle of a romance – mwhahahaha!

I’m Actually Doing It…

I AM WRITING!  

I honestly can’t believe it, I am writing and I am enjoying it, and I have already done 5k towards HalfNoC!  Wow, I am seriously so stoked at the moment!  Wahoo, have a glass of wine to celebrate for me!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

It has been challenging, and a lot of the first part of the Medusa rewrite is just deleting irrelevant parts, but I am up to the nitty gritty now, where Medusa and Perseus meet – and I have set it up so that they have a relationship – but the ending is still elluding me.  It is for a happily ever after romance story, and we all know that Medusa gets her head chopped off, and my writing buddies LaVerne, Cherie and Sacha all like the idea of the curse ending with Medusa’s head being cut off, and she emerges from the ugly body as her new self… but here is the problem – we also know the Perseus marries Andromeda after rescuing her… So where do I go?

Initially my thoughts are to have Perseus claim that Medusa is Andromeda and comes up with a far fetched story, but it doesn’t sound whimsical enough for me.

Still, I have three weeks to mull ideas over, but if anyone can think of something interesting, do let me know, because I am all out of ideas at this stage.

But while I am talking about writing, I am so enjoying this process, that I am considering writing another story later in the year.  I might not participate in NaNo, but I might just spend a couple of months writing a fairy story that I have in mind (if only I can come up with an ending for it!)

Anyway – I AM WRITING!  Isn’t that just so exciting!

Goals for June 2012

I wasn’t in a good space at the beginning of May, so I forgot to update my goals.  So I thought I would take the opportunity now to update the goals for June.

So here is the update for the month:

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

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

3. Finish my Ice Planet Story

4. Edit Ice Planet – 1/2 way through

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

6. Finish writing “Son of God”

7. Edit Medusa’s Garden.

SoCNoC month is nearly upon us, and I am not too sure how to approach this.  I am considering doing HalfNoc (25k words) instead as work on revising Medusa, because once I remove most of the inappropriate comments, it will only be about 1/4 of the size it is now.  I have to make it spicier, get it more interesting and have a stunning handsome hero who is able to save Medusa and the day.  I am rather nervous about writing again, because I know that I haven’t had much success with it of late.  It isn’t writers block, it is more a feeling that my work just isn’t up to its usual standard.  I have until 31st July to rewrite Medusa, revise it and send it.

The other stories have all been passed in at the moment, not that I don’t want to work on them, but I really need to focus totally on Medusa.  So HalfNoc it will probably be.