Saturday, 25 December 2010

Almost the new year...

Another year is coming to an end. Somehow we have to adjust from '10 to '11 when we're barely used to writing '10 instead of '09. It seems like 2000 was no more than two minutes ago. Alas. And I feel myself getting older with every passing second and every cliche sentiment...

Anyway, on a brighter note, here are my writing resolutions!

1. Submit 'Zack' to Critique Circle. Yes, I know I meant to edit it this summer, but that didn't happen. However, I am ready to submit to my writing circle, and the first chapter will be up for review in the first week of January! It'll take around 22 weeks to get the entire thing through Critique Circle, but by that point, I'll have plenty of useful suggestions to help the editing process.

2. Edit 'Zack'. It will hopefully be through Critique Circle by June when the editing joys can be commenced. Hopefully editing won't take too long, and I should have a long summer holiday (with no more uni, yay!) in which to apply myself. A chapter a day would mean I could edit the entire thing in just over three weeks, so perhaps I could get it all polished by July...

3. Research agents in August. Hmm. I wonder if I should head for home or abroad agents? 'Zack' is imbued with British culture, which might make it hard to market abroad...

4. Start submitting 'Zack' in September, and hopefully receive lots of rejection notes in time for the new year!

5. Maybe write/research new novel...

Hehe. I suppose the dates won't quite pan out as I anticipate, but you never know. As long as I get the main things done - the submitting to Critique Circle and the editing - I'll consider it a productive year on the writing front. I'm quite worried about going back to uni and having time for CC, but the plan is to go on CC instead of watching random iPlayer programs. Procrastination will be deleted!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Spring...uh Winter Clean

*blows out the dust and spiders once more*

Yeah... this isn't a real blog post. But I really need to get around to writing one at some point. Maybe I will when I get back from the UL today (University Library) and have finished redrafting my dissertation. But then, there will be fireworks to attend... uh, you see how it is? Busy busy busy...

Anyway, a thrifty tip for you all:
Love a cup of tea, but worried by the expensive prices of tea bags? Try recycling them! You can usually get two cups of tea from one tea bag, especially if you're not keen on super strong tea.

That's it for now...but maybe I'll return...soon...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Pros and Cons

Hello everyone! I'm back for another blog...*waves to the empty space*.

In this month's blog, we have a series of pros and cons, which will be marked by +ve and -ve to summarise the current status of the writing dream...


+ve = my current novel is with a beta reader, who will give it lots of useful feedback and will hopefully catch any gaping plot holes in it that need major changes before heading on down to the nitty gritty of minor language usage.

-ve = she's had it for quite a while now and all that time is time that could have been used for getting down to the nitty gritty.

+ve = I've started writing a new novel...well, a very old novel re-written...the second in a trilogy that I've had in conception for about ten years. 7000 words into it now, so I think we can definitely say 'it's alive!'.

-ve = Writing something new is actually an excuse not to get down to the nitty gritty of editing my other novel...and considering that this is the sequel to a novel that is VERY unlikely to be published at any time soon, it's somewhat a waste of energy...

+ ve = I've been doing a lot of travelling. I've been to Edinburgh, land of J.K. Rowling, and I'm just back from my very first festival (Latitude), which was also a fantastic experience and my first taste of camping. Near future events include Paris and Vancouver, and voluntary work with children in August. It's all great life experience, which will be fantastic for developing me and consequently my novel writing. After drinking in a HUGE amount of comedy at Latitude, for instance, I thought: this is it, I'm going to be a comic, and my latest witticism came about on hearing that Cillit Bang is taking over Durex: BANG! And the sperm is caught! Oh dear, oh dear... (people not familiar with Cillit Bang, see their advertising campaign here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYYTlcdfr58).

- ve = All this is time consuming stuff and again gives me another excuse to avoid the evil editing of 'Zack'. Alas.


So, yes, it's a mixed bundle. I'm enjoying myself, of course, which is the main thing, but things like these always cost money, and on the down side, my writing's not really getting any closer to a position where it can start earning me money...

Monday, 21 June 2010

On Facebook!

*testing*

Hey, I finally figured out how to get this thing to appear on my Facebook feed! *feels the connection* Perhaps now I'll get a person or two reading this thing, though there's no obligation, my friends. I wouldn't be a writer if writing depended on being read... -_-

Funny how everything is connected these days. I'm not on Twitter, because I haven't deserted Facebook yet, but most of the sites I visit link back to my Facebook: iPlayer, YouTube, now this blog... can't remember if there's anything else. I like it, most of the time, although sometimes, I don't want everyone on my Facebook friends reel to, say, know that I've liked a video. Not because it's anything bad, but perhaps slightly offbeat. I might be quite aware that something is terrible (crude filming, etc), but if it's vaguely related to Literature, it might still amuse me, and I might still want to give it some positive feedback. But I might not want to recommend it to all my Facebook friends, because most of them probably won't understand why I'd rate it. So then I have a bit of a dilemma.

But oh well. Look at me, writing two blogs in one day. I even started writing the opening of something that I've potentially considering developing into a new novel. I'm on fire... or perhaps I'm just bored...

Thrifty living

As an impoverished student/writer, I've mastered the art of living thriftily.. So I thought I'd share a few tips with my fellow impoverished readers...

1. Keep your eyes on the ground in public places - pennies make pounds, after all, and sometimes you can even find notes! My greatest find was a £5 note in London one time. Sure I nearly got run over to fetch it, but the point is, I didn't!
It's not only money, either. If you happen to be in an academic type institution and ever need a paperclip, don't bother buying a set on the ground. Just look to the ground. If I'm trying, I can pick up one every day! Not too bad.

2. Try out cheap brands. Experiment. Sure some of them aren't that great, but a lot are practically the same as their famous counterparts. I find that Tesco or Co-Op cheap tomato soup tastes the same as Heinz, for about 40p less, and I'm partial to Co-Op mushroom soup!

3. Buy whole milk and add water. I've never tried this, but it sounds like an intriguing idea. Also, if you live near a Poundland, have a look inside to see if they sell milk. You can get a 4 pint just like any other, but for £1 rather than £1.50+.

4. Don't bother with a TV and TV license. Is there REALLY anything worth watching on TV to warrant it? You can get most of the decent shows on the catch up programs like iPlayer anyway.

5. If you're a student, check out StudentBeans.com. Monday-Thursday, get 2-for-1 on Cinema tickets each week. And find various discounts on eating out. Why go out for a meal on a Friday or Saturday, when you can pay half the price by eating out on a Saturday?

6. For non-students, simply sign up to restaurant mailing lists by visiting their websites. They'll routinely email you with offers. Also, get familiar with happy hours and make the most advantage of those.

7. Keep an eye on the deals and buy in bulk when long-life products are on offer. Canned products and tea lasts forever!

8. Make the most of anything free. Take away the free sachets of tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and sugar from cafes!

9. If you go for a day-trip to London, don't buy ice cream from the ice cream trucks. Go to McDonald's and get a much cheaper McFlurry.

10. Travelling long distances? Buy train tickets as far in advance as possible to get cheap prices. Buy from the 'official' places if possible, rather than something like raileasy.com because those places don't charge booking fees. My favourite is eastcoast.co.uk, which offers further online discounts. Don't be mislead by the name - it sells train tickets for all over the country.

Use those tips to survive on low income until that novel is finally published!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Completed novel!

Hello! *blows out the dust*

Surprising how many spiders invade when you don't visit for a while...

Anyway! I just finished 'Zack'. It ended up totalling 68588 words. And because I like stats, that means I wrote 229 words on average per day, 10 words an hour, and 0.2 words a minute. Hehehe. More accurately, I tended to write a few thousand for a couple of days, then have a few weeks/months off...

It's likely that that word count will change in the editing process. At the moment, I feel it will grow, as I fear there's some work to be done on at least one character in the early stages of the novel, if possible.

I'm not too worried about the word count, even though it is probably 'over' what is recommended for YA. There are a couple of reasons. One is that I'm not even sure if it IS Young Adult. It feels too dark for a large part of the novel. I'm not sure. Another is that because it's a bit of a genreless blob floating on white space, it's probably not going to be a break-through novel... Hey, but I'm reasonably happy with it, and I think it will be a good one to read, even if I have to get another novel published before I can hope to get this one out in print.

The publishing world is a mean place. They want you to be original, but at the same time, they don't want you to be too dangerous, lest it flops. That's especially true if you're an unpublished author trying to break into the market.

Perhaps I'm just being pessimistic about my novel's chances, however. I'll run it through my writing circle this summer to see how it is received. Have I mentioned http://www.critiquecircle.com/ before? Without exaggerating, it's the most amazing place on the whole wide web. I've been a member for almost six years now...amazing how time flies.

It'll take about 20 weeks to get the novel through Critique Circle, chapter by chapter, taking us into November. After that, it'll be time to edit and decision time: do I bother trying to submit it? Hopefully, if I stick to the plan, and I do decide to go with it, then I'll get some submissions out in the new year. What a long process.

In the meantime, it's time to go back to the ideas folder. I have a vague idea of what I want to do next...

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Career Advice

I love the entry for 'Writer' in a careers book I was given about a week ago. So much that I thought I'd share it with my very small audience:

Writer
For writers other than journalists, making a living purely from writing can be very difficult, so many writers, especially before they are established, have other careers as well. There are only a handful of people who become successful fiction writers or writers of really popular non-fiction such as biographies. There are some jobs for writers in residence within theatre organisations, prisons or university departments, but many of these posts are temporary contracts. Technical authors write user manuals and instruction books for anything from washing machines to computer software, and there are writers who specialise in writing textbooks and other teaching materials. Technical authors are often on permanent, or at least more secure contracts. Many writers of textbooks have other jobs in educations.

Oh well. At least they're honest. I have no idea what other career I want out of life, though...

In other news, 'Zack' has reached 20,000 words. A third of the way there! I have a real target now to finish it by the beginning of the summer, then edit it over summer, and hopefully get it sent out to some places in autumn. Working with (realistic) goals in mind is often a good technique.