NaNo Fail

Writing has ground to a halt.  Well not exactly stopped, but I have stopped writing the Huntress story.

Rosalind AllenToday, I finished off – rather lamely – my Whose that Girl story, and having converted it to word, I am in the process of setting up the paragraphs etc.  Once I have done this, I will print it out and edit it – yay!  Hopefully I can get it away to my Critiquer by the middle of December (hopefully she remembers and reads through it quickly for me!)  The deadline is in February, but I want to get some edits etc done before I send it away.

I was frantically looking for software that I could use to create my story bible for the Huntress.  After lots of suggestions – that weren’t entirely helpful, I stumbled across a product called Tree Sheets.  Basically, it is a database, but with special features, like a cross between a spreadsheet and database.  I can enter information within cells, and within those cells again.  It is really quite fascinating, and I am looking forward to working with it to plan my three stories and keep my characters, settings etc in line.

Having had the week off work last week, because of a sick boy, I managed to get heaps done around the house.  Most of the gardens have been weeded, some of the veggie garden has been planted, and the house has been cleaned properly.  I am still in nesting mode, with lots of ideas about how to read rid of some stuff – some went to the op shop, some to the school.  With our plans and dreams coming together, I need to be able to get rid of things over the next few years in order for me to become comfortable with living with the bare minimum – as long as that doesn’t include my laptop, I think I can survive.  Although my husbands suggestion that I get rid of some books was met with a large amount of protest and I have dug my toes in.  He hasn’t pushed the issue since!

So while I failed NaNo, I have to focus on the fact that I have completed three novella’s this year, all three are in stages of edits, and one is being critiqued by the local RWNZ!  I have actually exceeded my own expectations for the year.



Triumphs and Tantrums

Its been a busy few weeks for me, having got through a sore jaw, damaged foot ligaments, surgery, more damage to my foot, suspected broken knuckle… Writing has taken a bit of a back burner.

I’m supposed to be writing flat out for NaNoWriMo, and I have been writing, but not enough.  The reason… my story is taking on a life of its own!

I intended for Huntress to be a trilogy, and plotted the first story, only to decide to start the story half way through the plan I had,

Damascus Hunting knife

Damascus Hunting knife

so I have been pantsing a lot of the story.  But Elan, my main character, has taken on a life of her own, and has decided that she wants this story to be big.  I keep trying to contain her, but she isn’t that keen, in fact she already has two love interests… hussy!

I’m rather liking Elan, she is fiery and fiesty, but people in authority really scare her, in a bad way!  She literally shuts down when confronted by angry authority.  Interesting how she did that, but something to overcome.

So that’s the triumph, here’s the tantrum part – I really want to plot the story out fully, all three stories before I continue, because I don’t want to get too mixed up, plus I’m going to need to set up a writers bible for this story set – there are lots of characters, and by the time the story is finished, there are going to be lots more, all revolving around Elan.  There is her ex husband who wants her dead, Elan’s own issues with her over developed shoulder blades, her feelings for Loc who has made it clear that he isn’t available, plus a growing friendship with Asy who wants to be more than friends… see where that one is headed.  There is also Tor, who doesn’t like her, and wants to get her as far away from his tribe as possible.  There is also her family and her new family that she has to deal with, so the story could get messy fast.

Rosalind AllenAnother triumph is – I have nearly completed Who’s That Girl, and I have decided to forgo Huntress in order to get this story finished, edited and out to my critique friend who has offered to read over it for me.  This is due to be submitted in February, and with Christmas and January being busy times of the year, the sooner I get it done, the better.  If anyone else is keen to critique this story also, please let me know, would like at least two critiquers, it is about 25k long.

So hopefully, I am over the worst of whatever has been afflicting me (I personally think someone is trying to tell me to slow down!) and I can get back on track physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  I could certainly do with some calm in my life.

My Cup (of Ideas) Overfloweth!

Rosalind AllenAnother month has begun, and I haven’t finished my Novella yet!  Eeek!  Not far off finishing though, just need to get them through the next part and then it is the end.  I have one beta reader / critiquer lined up already – if anyone else is interested in a 1920’s based Romance, please let me know.

NaNoWriMoAnd while it is October, planning is starting on my NaNoWriMo story.  NaNoWriMo?  National Novel Writing Month – it is the original 50k in 30 days challenge.  It is the northern hemisphere version of SoCNoC, and it is what conceived the original concept of SoCNoC.  So, I am writing another story, this time I have to crack the 50k word limit… Hmmm, could be interesting, as I haven’t been able to write 50k since 2011!  But I like a challenge.

And the ideas are just coming thick and fast!  I started writing a story year ago – I think it was not long after I originally finished the Chrystias story, about a Huntress.  She was kidnapped while out hunting one night.  While I liked the idea of her hunting, I wasn’t keen on the kidnapping thing, so another idea sprung up – which lead to another idea and another idea.  And now she is a half breed, rejected because of her deformity, which is actually what makes her really cool.  I would like to make this story a trilogy, so have to have plenty of action, but also finish the story with enough for a second one, but they are all stand alone.

Editing-wise I haven’t really got anything on the go, although I have Cursed Love going through the Critique group at the moment, and had some awesome feedback.  I love getting feedback, positive and negative.  Fortunately it has all been positive lately, which is great.

Its currently the school holidays, and I have this week to myself.  I am hoping to make productive use of my time and finish Whose That Girl this week so I can get editing on that in December, because then I have a couple of months to fix any problems and get my beta readers / critiquers to actually get their comments back to me.

So I guess I should be writing, and not mucking around on my blog…

10 Day Writing Blogging Challenge – Day 9


Post either a setting or character profile from your latest fiction project, a chapter summary of your non-fiction book, or a discussion of the theme or object inspiring a poem, article, or other writing project.

For a setting or character profile, don’t forget some photos, key features, a little history.10-day-write-blog-challenge-daily9

Hmmm, so many stories are my latest fiction project.  I guess, the one I am writing right now would be the one to discuss.

Whose That Girl is a submission call put out by Entangled Publishing and the guidelines are:

  • Must Be romance
  • Happen in the early 20th Century
  • Be 20-25k words ( full ms )
  • Be submitted by February 15, 2014.

The picture prompt is just gorgeous and all sorts of things came to mind when I saw it, mostly the 1920’s a period of opulence and grandeur before the Depression.

Here is some background on my main heroine.  This doesn’t really feature much in the story, but gives a background of who she is.

Rosalind AllenMy main character is Rosalind Allen nee Finetti.  Rosalind is in her early 20’s, a dancer at a speakeasy.  Her father is a mobster and her mother is dead.  Her mother came from money, but left that to be with her father, who unfortunately didn’t turn out to be who she thought he was.  At her deathbed, the mother made Rosalind promise to escape from the lifestyle and be free.  Unfortunately life doesn’t always happen that easily when you have mob connections in the family.

Rosalind, is naive in the way of men, even though she is a dancer.  She knows what they like, but has never taken it further.  When your father is part of the mob, you don’t mess with their daughters, so lots of suitors haven’t followed up, and her mother’s family isn’t interested in her either, so Rosalind is kind of floating on her own.  She is a loner and doesn’t really have any close friends at the speakeasy, except for Mademoiselle Starr who is a matronly black woman who boards the girls upstairs.  She knew Rosalind’s mother, and she is supportive of Rosalind escaping.

Rosalind wants to flee the intense scrutiny of her life, and be free from the constraints of the mob lifestyle.  She lives in a dormitory above the speakeasy, she isn’t really allowed any outside contact with anyone, let alone a day time job.  She gets fed, and a roof over her head, and a little spending money, but if they leave the dormitory, they are expected to take one of the bodyguards and only go to the shop and back again, no visiting of friends is allowed, so in a way, they are isolated from anybody else.  Rosalind though, having come from rich blood, does think she is slightly better than everyone else.

While dancers, and burlesque dancers at the time, did risque dance moves, they were not prostitutes, although they were allowed to have boyfriends if they wanted them, but the extra cash was generally handed into the manager of the speakeasy.  There were organised prostitution houses, but the dancers were considered prettier, and drew the clientèle in.  Often prostitutes would frequent the speakeasies of their managers or bosses associates (or their own bosses) and could take them out the back or back to the house to complete the transaction.

Rosalind is threatened with being turned over to the prostitution house by Albert “Gorilla” Weinshenker (an actual gangster at the time who ran speakeasies in Chicago for the North Side Gang), when she is returned to Chicago after the death of her recent husband, Henry Allen.

So there is my character profile of Rosalind Allen also known as Scarlett Rose.

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.