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Where Did November Go?

POSTED ON November 21st, 2014  - POSTED IN Games, Productivity, Writing

Gosh, has it really been that long since my last blog post?

November is always a busy month for me.  First, there’s NaNoWriMo which I make a point of doing each year even if my participation is just limited to further work on whatever book I’m currently writing.  Then every couple of years there seems to be a World of Warcraft expansion released around this time.  And this year there’s the added complication of having moved the contents of a 60 foot storage container into my new house and having yet to unpack all the boxes.  I’ve also upped my swordfighting training to twice a week.  It’s no wonder I have little time to blog.

NaNoWriMo 2014

POSTED ON November 1st, 2014  - POSTED IN Writing

If there’s been one thing that’s been grinding my gears lately, it’s some of the anti-NaNoWriMo sentiment out there.  Apparently there’s only one way to get stuff written (who knew?) and it isn’t NaNoWriMo (apparently).  Those pieces that aren’t just clickbait will tell you that NaNoWriMo is a waste of time and if you were cool, you shouldn’t be doing it.

There’s only one absolute rule of writing and that’s in order to get published you have to complete work.  That’s all.  Get the words down and then worry about everything else from there.  How you do that, how you go from having no words done to having all your words done is up to you.  The internet is full of advice, and by all means check it and try it out, but don’t beat yourself up if it’s not for you.

Look at this way, to be a runner, you have to run.  People don’t go around telling runners that the fact that they run down to the shops and back every night doesn’t make them a ‘proper’ runner.  It’s not the speed or the distance that makes someone a runner.  It’s not how they run.   Oh of course, there’s always some guy; some guy ready to tell the world that unless they run exactly like he does then you can’t call yourself a runner.  But you, I and the rest of the world knows that this is bullshit and the guy is just an arsehole.

No, what makes people a runner is that they run regularly.  They go for runs.  By the same principle if you write, you’re a writer, and whether you are a pantser or a plotter, whether you find NaNoWriMo works for you or not, doesn’t enter into it.

So if you’re worried that you want to NaNoWriMo but think that if you do, it’ll somehow ruin your career, you can slap that shit right out of you now.  Likewise, you’re under no obligation to do it.  Doesn’t make you any more or less a writer as long as you get the work done.

For my part this year, I’d hoped to start Thunder of Crows but I’m feeling that I’m behind on Thieving King (this book is HUGE and despite a lot of hard work I feel like I’ve made no progress).  I need to really push on with it.  So for my NaNoWriMo I’m just hoping to get more of it done.  Is it cheating?  Actually no, but I couldn’t care whether it was or not.

New Article At Fantasy-Faction On Scapple

POSTED ON October 18th, 2014  - POSTED IN Writing

http://fantasy-faction.com/2014/so-whats-the-fuss-about-scapple

So this month over at Fantasy-Faction I’m taking a look at the companion product to Scrivener – the mind-mapping programme called Scapple.  If you’ve ever wondered what mind-mapping is and how it could possibly help you or have looked at Scapple and wondered what it does, be sure to check out the article.

Process Update

POSTED ON October 14th, 2014  - POSTED IN Productivity, Writing

My approach to my writing process is one of continual improvement.  I like to discover different techniques and then try them out, fine tuning them and seeing if they match my approach to writing.

A lot’s changed over the last 18 months in terms of process and I’m largely very happy with it and what it’s delivering.  I’ve possibly got a big process rework for how I approach editing on the horizon but I suspect that will slip into next year.  So for now, any changes are things that aid and support, rather than radically change the current process.

Back To The Grindstone

POSTED ON October 7th, 2014  - POSTED IN Writing

For the last few weeks I’ve been unable to write. After never-ending months of the house purchase looking like it might never go ahead, I suddenly found myself with the reality that not only was I buying a house but I was faced with all the realities and complications that arises from the move.

I had so much to do that I decided it would make sense to put the writing on hold whilst I dealt with life. I hated doing this, especially as I’d got some very key scenes I was desperate to write. But needs must.

Like a lot of writers I sometimes find writing a chore. I often wonder if I enjoy the act of having written more than actually writing. But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised how much I missed it whilst moving. Over the last couple of weeks whilst apparent chaos has swirled around me, I’ve longed for quiet time to sit back down and write.

And with this week, that time finally came.

I still have a mountain of house-related tasks on my ToDo list, I’ve yet to really unpack many boxes, and as much as writing last night was like trying to use a underused muscle, I still really enjoyed being back.

I’ve worked hard over the years to be able to afford space where I could work uninterrupted. Now I have it, with a massive new computer desk as well. I have no excuse now not to churn out the words now, do I?

New Article at Fantasy-Faction on Aeon Timeline

POSTED ON September 3rd, 2014  - POSTED IN Writing

http://fantasy-faction.com/2014/so-whats-the-fuss-about-aeon-timeline

So, this month over at Fantasy-Faction I take a look at another piece of writing software in the form of Aeon Timeline.  For those of you who struggle to keep track of which characters are where when, this can be a Godsend!

The Great September Word War

POSTED ON September 2nd, 2014  - POSTED IN Writing

September.  How the hell did it get to be September already?

With the advent of fall comes the knowledge that the year is running out.  We’re now two thirds of the way through and I reckon I’m about half a book behind my schedule of four books this year.

Which is not bad, but gives me the worry that I might get to the end of this year and have just one finished book to show for it.

So like a lot of writers it seems, September is knuckle down and write month.  If I can get this Thieving King draft done by end of September (and I’ve got a feeling that this is going to be a BIG book), Thunder of Crows could be my NaNo novel and then Refugee could be edited in October… or something.

Gah!  I’ve gone from quietly confident to quietly panicking.  Who stole the summer?

To help me I’ve declared a public word war on the incredibly talented CE Murphy.  Like me, she is behind schedule and looking to have a busy September.  We’re keeping it simple, most words over the month wins, although it’s less about ‘winning’ and more about ‘getting stuff done’.  Feel free to join in at #SeptemberWordWar

Managed to get over 3000 words of Maureen fighting Vargs (i.e. Wargs / Worgs) done as a warm up yesterday so whilst I don’t expect to win it’s given me the impetus to start cranking up the productivity.  I’m especially pleased as swapping between the 1st person present POV of Black as Knight and the 3rd person limited past of Thieving King has proved difficult before now.

Anyone would think that Thieving King has a potential release date!

Projects On The Slate

POSTED ON August 19th, 2014  - POSTED IN Writing

At the start of this year I set myself a huge challenge – to write four novels in 2014.  A few friends said I was crazy but as I replied  I have good processes now and even if I ended up with just one completed novel it would be better than nothing.  As long as I didn’t let quality slip, anything more was just a bonus.

Eight months in, and I’m really happy with the progress.  I’ve written about a quarter of a million words so far (some good, some not so good) and already completed one novel with everything else progressing along nicely.  I’ve lost a few weeks due to house buying but hope to try and claw that back in the last third of the year.