Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Results are in...

...and they were what I needed to progress to the next level. :D Once the graduation ceremony is over this weekend, I shall officially have a degree from Cambridge and will be moving on to my Post-Graduate Certificate of Education. Hehehe.

To continue on from the previous blog post, my sister and I have now sent off our competition entries. They'll start their journey through the post tomorrow, and should be there by the Friday deadline without a struggle. Good to have something out there. Maybe it'll inspire me to get on with other things too.

To say that today has been a stressful (waiting for the results, which didn't arrive until around 4pm!) and unproductive day is fairly accurate, although I have made a little progress, at least, with something. I started to look through Between Time, to give it another edit before I start researching agents for it. It's always surprising how much you can edit something when you leave it to sit for a while. I want to get submissions out for it before the end of the summer.

Still no Zack related news, of course. Seems like I'm doing everything I can to avoid it. Oh dear, oh dear. Still, tomorrow is a new day!

Monday, 27 June 2011


A few weeks ago, I had a dream in which I was writing this blog post. In my dream, I hadn't edited Zack, but I did have a new novel.

Reality doesn't have such an achievement. I have written a short story, though. I was doing a little research for my newest novel on the Jacqueline Wilson website and I noticed there was a writing competition there. The winners are published in an anthology and there's an award ceremony at her Literary Festival in October.

I figured I might as well give it a shot, because to have ANY published credit has to help, even though I wouldn't get paid for it. I didn't mind that I'd lose the rights to the story as I would write it entirely for the competition.

Short stories are a pain to write. It took me about three months to think up an idea. Or at least to develop my initial idea into a coherent story. I think I've managed now, though... With some extensive editing, I've managed to keep it to the word count of 2000 words. Yay!

The story continues from where Zack left off, but from the perspective of a character with only a cameo in the novel. It's very different from the original novel!

Now all that remains is printing it off and sending it to the competition. I would have liked to have ran it past Critique Circle, but there are only a few days remaining before the competition closes! My little sister is currently writing her attempt, too. We'll be in separate age categories, which is fun. :)

Anyway, Zack is still unedited. But I'll hopefully make a start on it tomorrow. There's still plenty of the summer left to get it sorted.

In other news, exam results come out tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Meeting Garth Nix!

As the euphoria slowly wears off, I sit down to record an amazing experience and as it's writing-related I thought I'd share it here.

Tonight, I met Garth Nix.

This, for me, is like meeting David Tennant for Doctor Who fans. Or ... I don't know, David Beckham for football fans? Anyway, if you don't know who he is and you have a vague interest in reading children's fantasy, you must order his books NOW: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Garth-Nix/e/B000AQ01XU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0. I would happily recommend them all, particularly the Abhorsen series for teens and the Keys to the Kingdom for younger teens. Oh, and the amazing Shade's Children. And the Ragwitch.

Anyway, he has been a childhood inspiration for a long time. Many times I've been battling away at my own writing and turned to admire his prose not without a huge twinge of jealousy. I've loved him just as much as J.K. Rowling or Philip Pullman. They're my top three authors of all time.

So I was incredibly excited to hear that he was coming to Cambridge, and even better, on the night after my exams finished! I've been his friend on Facebook for a while and recently he has started putting up fairly frequent updates. That was how I found out about the event (Facebook has made life so much better, in certain ways!).

Anyway, I went, I saw, I left awestruck.

He was amazing. He did an hour talk, involving some fun facts about himself (yes, his name is his real one and not a pseudonym) and a fun fantasy story about a magical ring that gave him nine years success, which he then gave to the first person who put up their hand (unfortunately I was too slow, though I did put mine up very quickly). Then, he read aloud a bit of a novel that will be coming out next year. There was a question and answer session and finally a book-signing session.

I was far too star-struck to say anything very coherent when it was time to meet him, but it was still amazing. I did manage to request a photo with him and it turned out okay:

He was just as incredible in flesh as he is on paper.

I would have liked to have asked him to read something of mine, but of course, I know he would be too busy to accept even something short. My mid-grade fantasy Between Time is strongly influenced by the style of his Keys to the Kingdom series. I can dream and think he might read this, though; that would be amazing!

Anyway, all too soon, the evening was over and I was trembling in a corner, putting my signed book away and getting ready to cycle back. I think I must have looked rather mad on the way back with the huge grin on my face.

I don't think there's much more to say than that. Read him. Love him. And see him, if you have the chance.

Here's the signed book too:

*excited squeal*

Monday, 6 June 2011

Back to the grindstone...AKA freedom

My exams came to a finish at 12 noon today, which means I have a few months of freedom now to dive back into the writing, editing and proofreading (the latter is for a friend, who'll be releasing some new ebooks soon and I'd recommend them without hesitation: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jody-Kihara/e/B004Q28H7G/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0).

It's good timing, because the final chapter of 'Zack' is going through Critique Circle this week, and once that's finished there will be nothing to stop me from editing. Other than the paralytic thought of opening my crits and viewing the comments and actually doing the editing. Uh... this is always the worst part, mentally working myself up to a state where I actually dare to look at the comments. I'm fine once I'm actually doing it...

In other writing news, I've been formulating ideas for a new novel. Well, it's kind of an old novel idea (years old), which I've never seriously worked on until this year. But I've written a couple of thousand words. The main issue was that while I had a strong sense of the protag and her initial adventures, I didn't have much of an overall PLOT. The more I thought about it, the better sense I had of her entire family and her close friends...but even then, I was drawing blanks for the final climax of the novel. Thanks to a short brainstorming session with some friends, though, I think I've developed a climax for the novel that will work really well and tie a number of things together.

I'm amazed how much it has progressed in the last week, really. Especially considering that I should have been using that time revising for the last exam (but it was soooo boring). I now feel pretty much ready to write it. It shouldn't be too difficult to write. It's a mid-grade novel, of a similar genre to Jacqueline Wilson. The only tricky part is that I want the novel to span at least ten months, and I've never been good at sustaining a novel over a period of time. The last novel, for instance, spanned a period of about 3 weeks. Still, a challenge is always good.

Anyway, that's where I'm at right now. I feel I really need to get a book out electronically this summer, but I don't know which one to choose. The one I originally considered 54321 is only 30,000 words in its current reworked stage, and still needs a lot more rewriting before it'll be finished. I could epublish my old fantasy novel, and I thought up a neat idea for that the other day which I'm quite interested to implement, but that would be quite a major overhaul, too.

Hmm! Too many projects all vying for my attention. I can only deal with two at the most. So I think I'd better stick with 'Zack' for editing, and the new novel because writing something new is always indefinitely more satisfying than rewriting.