Monday, 15 November 2010

30 Plays in 30 Days

As you know, I'm currently in the middle of National Novel Writing Month in an attempt to write 50,000 words over the thirty days of November. However, I was sorely tempted to join B L Goss in her attempt to write 30 plays in 30 days.

This is her final project on her Major American Authors course, running from 15th November (today) to 15th December. She will be posting each play on her blog daily and she invites other writers to join her.

Read her full article here.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Photo Inspiration

As the nights draw in and the weather turns rainy, I thought I'd bring you a little summer photographic inspiration this time.


Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Literary Treasure

Portrait of Robert Louis StevensonImage via Wikipedia
When I fired up my computer today and opened a browser, I was met with the latest Google image - pirates, sailing boats and treasure. Puzzled, I investigated further and discovered that on this day, one hundred and sixty years ago, Robert Louis Stevenson was born.

I've always associated him with the novels Treasure Island and Kidnapped and of course the films of these novels. What I didn't realise until today was how extensive his writing talents were. He was not only a novelist (also penning The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde among other novels) but an essayist, a writer of short stories and a poet.

Born in Edinburgh, his life would take him to London, Europe, the USA and further still. He finally settled in Upolu, one of the Samoan islands where he died at the age of 44. His was a life lived richly and extensively. It's no wonder that his novels were so numerous and so varied.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

I must, I must...

I must improve my NaNoWriMo wordcount.

During week one of National Novel Writing Month, I carved myself a regular writing slot. Once the children had been delivered to school and my husband to work, I would sit at the computer with a coffee and write for a couple of hours. I was not only achieving the suggested daily word count of 1,667 but bettering it. For the first time in the history of my NaNoWriMo attempts, I was ahead.

Week Two is notorious for being the week when most of the lunatics, I mean contestants of NaNoWriMo falter in their attempts and gnaw through more than one pencil (not sure if that metaphor works for keyboards...). I was ahead though, hair flying in the sweet breeze of success. I laughed at the thought of anything going wrong with my progress just because we'd hit the second week of our challenge.

On Monday morning, I found a rash on my daughter's neck and my son had a fever. The doctor was called and my daughter was diagnosed with an unidentified virus. "It's nothing serious," said the doctor, "but best to keep her off until the rash has faded." A day of nursing grumbly children ensued and no writing. I shrugged off the change in routine and decided that I'd write once they were in bed. By midnight, I'd only managed 500 words.

The next morning, my son was much better (I'm still wondering if he'd simply been holding his head against the radiator to get a day off school. Cynical mother? Me?) but my daughter remained at home, alternately scratching her rash and moaning that she was bored. Once again, no writing was had until my demonspawn, sorry, angels were in bed. And once again, by the time midnight tapped on my shoulder, I had not met my required wordage.

Yesterday I decided that enough was enough and setting my daughter up with things to do (and instructions not to scratch), I sat down at my computer to write, fingers poised, notes at my side. Not a lot happened. I typed some more of my novel but not much, maybe a couple of hundred words. I had a coffee, put a wash on, then returned to the computer. Again, I managed another two hundred words before hitting a wall of mind and finger silence. After twenty more minutes of stopping and starting, I decided to write more that evening.

I put my novel out of my mind until the children were settled in bed, my tea was eaten and I had a glass of wine to hand. In the first hour, I managed about a page of text. I was still only halfway through my daily word requirement and worse, I needed to write another thousand words on top of that to catch up with that the NaNoWriMo purple line (fellow NaNoers will know what I mean by that). So I got another glass of wine and pushed on. The entire evening was conducted in a similar way, start, stop, wine, start, stop, read notes, start, stop, stretch legs. I couldn't seem to get any real flow to my creative juices. The well of my creative juice was drying up at an alarmingly speedy rate.

Then it struck me, like a Hammer Horror villain with a very big axe. It was the curse of Week Two! Nooooo! Did I run away screaming or hide behind the cushions though? No, I did what most NaNo writers do on an hourly basis. I checked my wordcount, checked my notes and ploughed on. You see that's the thing about a curse. It only works if you believe in it.

The trick to suriving Week Two is simply this. Be realistic, forgive yourself any lapses and just get on with it. Don't fear Week Two. Embrace it like the knowledgeable teacher it is. If you can survive these seven days, then you're well on your way to your 50,000 words.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Bonfire Night

GuysSparklerImage via Wikipedia
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.

My husband and I were trying to remember this poem today in the car. Like Christmas Day, in our household Bonfire Night is all about our children. Our plan tonight is to wrap everyone up warm and head out to a local castle for a bonfire and firework display, unless we get the torrential rain that the weather people say is heading our way. In that case, it'll be fireworks at home tomorrow night.

However you celebrate Bonfire Night, have the best of times and stay safe.
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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

When is your writing slot?

When are you at your most productive during the day or night? For me, it's when I've just arrived back from the morning school run. My creative mind tends to start turning over on the drive home and by the time I sit at the computer, I already have the details of what I'll write next. This slot has worked out well for my NaNoWriMo adventure this year, giving me a chance to write my November novel undisturbed and when my brain is energised.

Today, however, my routine was thrown. I had offered to help out at my daughter's school in the morning. Then I had to buy some replacement school uniform (my children keep growing). By the time I got home, it was almost noon. My muse was on her lunch break. I managed about 400 words before other duties called.

Tonight, I decided to push on and upped my daily word count by another 2,000 words but it was hard work. I was tired, my children were noisily settling for the night and I felt bad neglecting my husband so my writing stopped and started over a couple of hours.

Tomorrow I'll be back to my morning writing slot - peace and energy and a good supply of latte. Bliss.

Monday, 1 November 2010

And we're off!

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins today. I mentioned this in October and ever since then I have been putting together a chapter plan for a quirky, dimension travelling, fantasy novel. Then three days before the month began, I changed my mind about which novel to write and started all over again with a different story idea. Am I mad? Probably but then I think, to an extent, most NaNoWriMers are a little mad. Why else would we throw ourself into the lion's pit, battling through a monthly wordage of 50,000? That's 1,667 words per day.

I started as I always do in my NaNoWriMo onslaught (this will be my fourth year) with blind enthusiasm and a childlike rush of excitement. With my chapter plan (well, what I could manage to put together in three days - fourteen chapters) beside me, I managed to achieve 2,467 words today.

I'm quite impressed with such a good start but the challenge will be to keep the momentum going. Wish me luck.