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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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.

Progress Report

pikuroaIt is well over the halfway point of SoCNoC and I have only just reached the halfway point of my story.  It turns out that I will run out of story before I run out of word count.  Hmmm, interesting position to be in.

But then the story is a Paranormal suspense Romance, and as such, I could add more of the paranormal in, plus there is another scene I want  to add in closer to the beginning, creating more tension between the two main characters before they actually do get it together.

However, the story will still not run to the full word count of 60k, nor will it reach 50k – and I don’t want to pad it out or edit it as I go, but I have found myself doing that in the earlier chapters, just to find places to add more to it.

Padding isn’t something I am comfortable with, but as a writer friend pointed out, just make sure I have the five senses engaged – sight, sound, taste, touch and feel – and that should add more words.  Some people will just write for the sake of adding word count, but that isn’t something I have done.  I like to follow the story rather than win the competition.  This is the second year I have participated since my depression – last year I did HalfNoc, and didn’t complete it.  I have unofficially won HalfNoc, but I wanted that Novel.

I’m not disappointed, in fact I love the story – yes, it is rough (very bloody rough!), but I have it down (and backed up!), so I have something to work with.

I still have 9 days to complete the challenge, and who knows, miracles happen all the time – maybe something will come to me in the middle of the night, or brainstorm with a friend.  You just never know.

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.

And Yet Again, Another Change…

Funny how things happen.  Last night, half asleep, listening to my husband and a friend playing their

guitars (at 2:30am) I came up with a plot point that would shore up my worrying plot line.  A surprising twist, but one I really like.

And it happens, just like that.  Even though I plot my story out, I keep it flexible as possible, and often, my flexibility allows other things to happen that I didn’t know would, but it adds to the drama and suspense of the story, as well as adds credence to a weakness that I was worried about.

While our friends were here, we were discussing dreams and about what they were used for.  The Native American Indians believed that they could specifically dream certain dreams by starving themselves for 8 days and then going into an induced sleep.  This is probably true.  When I go to sleep, I bring to mind the dreams I had from a previous night, or if I don’t want to focus on that, I think about where I am at in the story I am writing and how I can move forward in the story.  Sometimes I will think of a new idea or some way in which to move the story on, or I will dream something else.

I love that I dream, and I dream pretty much every night, and I can remember my dreams.  But then I have always focused on my dreams (they are where story ideas come from) from a very young age, so I have a good recall of them.  Something that the Native American Indians had to learn.  Little did I know that I am actually quite clever at being able to recall dreams, because many people can’t.

I have a notebook beside my bed for writing down my dreams, and sometimes I will even interpret them, and it can be fascinating what they are trying to tell me.  Like dreaming of moving water can be our life, and if it is swift moving, our lives are going fast, if they are slow and wandering, we are moving at a nice easy pace.

I kind of feel like I am rambling tonight… I probably am.  Not much sleep in the last week, and a 12 hour sleep in the middle, makes for a very muddled girl!

I got to talk to Year 5 / 6 kids at the school I work at about revising and editing stories.  I spoke to them about my own writing and showed them examples of my corrected work.  Then they asked heaps of questions about my writing.  I have since been asked by the Year 2/3 teacher to talk to her class about creating characters and planning a story!  Very exciting times.

Tom HardyWriting is proceeding well, I am wrapped with where the story is going, and I am about 1/3 of the way through it.  20k through, with over 5k yesterday before visitors arrived.  I don’t know what I will do after I have finished writing this story, because at least for now, I have a valid excuse for watching Tom Hardy movies and youtube clips!

Anyway, plan for the week, write, write, write.  SoCNoC is only a third of the way through.  🙂

SoCNoC 2013 – Day 3

pikuroaWhoops, I am a day behind myself because it is Queens Birthday Weekend.  I keep thinking that tomorrow is Monday, but then I have tomorrow off and start work on Wednesday, so goodness what day I will think it is then!

But anyway, work is progressing on Cursed Love.  I have the first 6 chapters done (as of now) and working towards getting the rest done.  I managed to achieve 6K in a Day with 6207 words on Sunday, thanks to my beloved taking the boys away for the afternoon.

Monday wasn’t much of a writing day because my beloved had to get a letter written up and guess who does that for me – yip, me.  It doesn’t worry me too much, because I did three days work on Sunday – but I have managed to get some words down, up to the curse part now.

I am loving where the story is going, and I am so excited about writing it.  I can’t believe how easily it is flowing from me.  It is coming together nicely, with some suggestions from my Mum, Melissa Pearl and Trish Peers-Adams.  I love brainstorming, it really brings the ideas together, and with the Goals Motivation and Conflict sorted out for my characters, and all the details of the characters put together, I have three very complex characters, whom I am pleased to call my own.  They are all flawed, and even my villian has a reason for his flaw – and it could almost be considered a love triangle.  I did say almost!  Depends on how readers like it.

So, I guess, rather than drivel on some more, I best go and put my keyboard skills to good use and do some more writing  🙂

Is it 1st June Yet???

pikuroaMan, I just can’t wait for the 1st of June.  Lots of reasons really, and none of them more important than the others, but there is a special reason that I am anticipating June this year.

1st of June is my father in law’s birthday, and it is also our wedding anniversary – 11 years!

But the real reason for my excitement is that, for the first time, in a couple of years, I am going to do SoCNoC!  And I mean I AM GOING TO DO IT!

I’m so damned excited about it too, have a wonderful story, have Scrivener all set up and ready to go, ready to start my Paranormal Suspense Romance – Cursed Love!

I have my goals, motivations, conflict, characters, settings and plan all lined up.  All I have to do it put fingers to the keyboards.  And I kind of have a plan – I work until 2:30 most days at the school, so from 2:30 until 3:10 I have 40 minutes of uninterrupted writing time… I reckon I could do a lot in that time.  There is also my lunch hour, if I decide to really isolate myself… have to find a quiet classroom somewhere for that one, because it can be quite amusing at lunchtime in the staff room.

But I guess, after two years of struggling with writing, I am so excited about a project.  I can’t wait to get started, and even though I want to start now… I am holding myself back, because otherwise I might run out of steam!

So I know what I am doing during June – what are you up to?