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.

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.

I Love Showers!

Odd title for a post, I know, but for a long time, I have found that it is a fabulous place to think (and driving is also a nice time for me to plot and plan novels too).  While working on The Gamble, I found (but I also knew) that there were a few problems with the story, not so much the plot line, but more how to show the change in Astra.

Before I proceed further on my epiphany, a little science lesson.  Apparently, most people get great ideas while walking in the rain, or during a shower, and the reason for this, is the negative ions that the falling droplets produce.

  • Simple explanation

    Simple explanation

    Negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy.

  • Negative ions stabilize brain function – effect – relaxation and calmness.
  •  http://www.iriswellbeing.com/negative_ions.html – check out this link for more interesting points on how negative ions are good for our bodies and how walks in the rain, by waterfalls, or in forests can be beneficial.  So, having a shower or walking in the rain is actually good for you.

So back to the epiphany – My problem is there are three main characters – Evan, Astra and Gryffyn.  The place where Gryffyn and Astra live is a quiet place, but there are no other characters there, and I thought about introducing a travelling salesman to show how Astra went from being a quiet little mouse to someone who is more confident.

housekeeperAnd then I as I was climbing out of my shower, I thought – what about a housekeeper?  The house is large enough to accommodate one, and a housekeeper would act as a motherly kind of person for Gryffyn – and also Astra – and some of the ideas that I had about showing the change would work nicely with having a matronly type of person for Astra to relate to.  Would also explain some of the easiness with which Astra accepts Gryffyn’s big secret – if she already had an idea.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea, and as Astra and her own mother have a strained relationship, with a housekeeper, Astra could finally have the female acceptance she has always wanted, plus after the explosive ending, Astra would have some comfort from the housekeeper.

So here is your lesson for today – if you are stuck with a problem – have a shower or go for a walk in the rain or in a forest.  You might be surprised just how much information you might have stored in your brain when you get back.  And if you don’t get your ideas flowing, at least your health will be for it.

Progress

OK, so the desire to write, I mean really write, strikes just as the school holidays start!  Did I annoy someone or something?

I am going to start plotting out Cursed Love.  I don’t know if I can wait until

Hidden Cafe, Motueka Valley Highway, NZ

Hidden Cafe, Motueka Valley Highway, NZ

June to start writing it – I will try and hold out for as long as I can!

I want to get The Gamble finished, I have the ending nearly done, but there is a section in the middle that needs work, so I will also plot this one out a bit more.  I want the heroine to develop some backbone, any ideas would be gratefully received.

Personally – well the medication is definitely working.  Had an incident at work the other day that once upon a time would have made me spiral backwards, but instead I took it all in my stride, so obviously we now know that it is the noradrenalin that is lacking.  Now I need to find out how I can replicate this through food and nutrition and hopefully, one day, I might be able to come off the meds, but that is a long way away.

The running hasn’t been happening lately, but I am hopeful to get back into this, even if it is on my own.  I enjoyed it a lot, and I recently purchased a yoga DVD.  I love stretching and yoga, so this should be ideal.

Things are on the positive and up at the moment.  I love how things are coming together, and hopefully I can start managing my time better and able to work things into my week.  Once I start writing, I want it to be an every day occurrence, not a once a week, bust-a-gut-write-out.

Characterisations

Lately, I have been searching for pictures on the internet of men and women that I can use to be characters in my books.  The reason I have chosen this line of “thinking” is because it makes it easier for me to visualise them.  I am obviously a visual learner, and I need to see what I am writing about.

For my latest story, The Gamble, I have three main characters.  Astra, Evan and Gryphyn.

karl 4Gryphyn is a strong man, strong character and also a selkie.  He is wise and knowledgable and so in love with Astra.  When looking for pictures, I immediately thought of Karl Urban.

paul bettany 1For Evan, I wanted someone who was weasel-like, but bigger physically than Gryphyn .  Paul Bettany is the best fit for this role, good looking but also menacing.

Astra is a timid little woman, who has been suppressed by her family and her husband, Billie piper 2Evan. She finds it hard to accept the truth because of the life she has been given.  Billie Piper immediately came to mind, because she can be meek and mild, but show some fire if she needs to.

See how having the pictures you are able to visualise the characters.  I know the vital stats of each actor and able to assemble that into the information I have already done on my characters, so I know heights, eye colour, hair colour etc.

Because of the pictures, I am able to build a better idea of my character, their traits and why they act the way they do.  Before that I was struggling to see the characters, other than a petite blond, a big dark haired bear like man and a weaselly looking character.  Having their facial features makes it visually more apparent to me what they are like on the inside (even though I don’t know what they are really like).

If you struggle with characterisations, try having a look on the internet.  Try typing in obscure words like “rugged, handsome, blond, male”, ” petite blond female”, or “brunette male, muscular” and see what pictures come up.