Tag Archives: workinprogress

Worldbuilding: Research Research Research

So my 1920’s book (and my Tudor book) aren’t going too well with the writing part – this is The Thief and The Seer, and Necromancer’s Charm. It’s both the world and the voice – I’ll do a post on that in a bit!

But my reaction to worldbuilding problems? Research.

I, uh, may have also got myself a library card recently. It’s good for me to have a walk every day, right? And at least with self-service machines the librarians can’t give me disbelieving stares when I return six books I borrowed yesterday and take out another six…

Anyway! I’m researching the 1920’s. I’ve got Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers. The Great Gatsby. Nancy Mitford. R.F. Delderfield. I’ve read Brideshead Revisited, Birdsong and some of the other poets already, but I might go back to them. I’ve also picked up Joe Abercrombie on the recommendation of Adrian to have a look at voice and POV, and a non-fiction by Adrian Tinniswood (The Long Weekend) to have an explore of English country homes. I’ve got Peaky Blinders, Gatsby and Downtown Abbey on the list of possible TV shows to watch, and Adrian (that man is annoyingly knowledgeable) pointed out that I can just watch snatches of things to pick up on the voice and style.

Basically, what I’m not trying to do is learn the history of the period – I have picked up a few history books and they’re mostly useless, because they all focus on WW2. What I’m trying to do is get a feel for the period; the voices, the characters, the people. At the moment I’m focusing on Europe – actually, my main city seems to be forming around Amsterdam – and so I’m not going Prohibition or Roaring 20’s. There will be aspects of that, sure, and I want to look into the dance-hall and flapper scene, but because it’s not an alternate universe I don’t need the history part. I need the sense of a country coming out of a devastating war, where everything turned on its head, and look at the reactions to the new world. I also want to play on the class system; at the moment, I’m playing with the idea of one of the gentry falling for a tradesman. The horror!

This is the part I call book-building; I’m still feeling my way through things. If I were writing on paper, I’d likely have notes scattered everywhere – as it is, I have post-its on my dashboard, odd bits in Word files, and bookmarks all over the place. It’s slowly knitting, but at the moment I’m still choosing the colours. But hey, it means I get to read a lot!

NaNo2017: Temporary (?) Hiatus

Givin’ up. And that’s fine!

A friend commented recently about my laid-back attitude to writing. I was chatting about writing thing, and commented that I’ve got a few things on the go, but for now…I’m not writing. But there’s no angst; I’m not particularly bothered. When I feel like writing again, I’ll write.

It basically comes down to practicality. I could write. I could sit and drag every sentence out of my brain. I could get the words down. But it would, frankly, make for a shit story.  I have ideas, thoughts, bubbles –  but the jigsaw pieces aren’t fitting together. I could make it look ok, ish, but….

I don’t have a problem with stepping back. I’ve got editing work and proofreading work and I’m still thinking about everything – I’m currently pondering names for No Man’s Land, thinking about the Tudor period, storing little autumnal images in my brain for later use, people-watching to see what I can store. Nothing’s going to waste. It’s just that currently, I’m not in a state to output it as I want to. And that’s not oh-my-god-it’s-going-to-be-shit or writer paralysis: it’s just practical for me. I know, after 15 years of writing, how I work best. And working when my brain is depression-fogged and broken is not the best time to get work out of it.

I also don’t see NaNo as a competition. I never have, since I break the rules regularly (novella writer!) and, frankly, competition doesn’t float my boat. I don’t give a crap who’s written more words (and friendly banter on the first day this year gave me a panic attack, thinking that everyone hated me) so honestly, I’m not a good NaNo candidate. I’ll leave the pushing onwards to everyone who does care, and for the time being, just do what I need to.

So I’m shelving the project, and I’m waiting. I don’t currently have a story that I want to tell – and that’s fine. I’ll just keep thinking, and one will come.

NaNoWriMo 2017: Definitely a first draft

NaNoWriMo participant logoDay…what are we on now? 6? I lost track round about day 1…

Anyway, The Thief & The Seer is definitely a first draft. I’ve already had ideas for redoing the beginning; I’m marking bits in H2s to add in later; and I’ve already got some extra ideas for things I want to add. But a first draft is great! I’m exploring the characters. I’d originally thought the seer was quite a gentle a certain character – now, it turns out she’s got an arrogant edge and is definitely capable of holding her own against the thief. The thief’s child is becoming more of a central character – or at least, it seems to work very well to see a lot of the action through her eyes, as she needs explanations that the reader also needs. And the thief himself seems to have mellowed with age, which is quite nice; he almost did something kind a few paragraphs ago. I might have to let him be sweet occasionally.

Having plotted out the novel is working quite well, too. I had quite a rough outline – “go here, meet this person, do this”…but actually, that works brilliantly for my writing style. So far, I’ve followed the outline, but the gaps have given me enough space to add some extras. There’s only one place so far where I may add more, and that’s because I think it would benefit the plot; otherwise, so far at any rate, I’ve got everything I want in there.

I did crash this week; my daily wordcounts haven’t been great! I spent most of yesterday asleep, and I was exhausted for the rest of it. It’s frustrating when everything catches up with me, and it means I’ve been having mind-fog problems – every sentence is a drag to get out, and nothing flows.  However I’m glad that it doesn’t matter too much; again, the first draft feeling is turning into a blessing! Because I’m exploring, it doesn’t matter that I don’t have much description, or have odd, disjointed conversations. It’ll all come out again when I re-plot and re-write, which is fine.

Anyway, still on track at the moment. We’ll see how the next week goes…

General Update & The Start of NaNo2017!

Somehow, I got to November, and I have to write wurds…

Photo of (most of) the Grimmie Crew by the amazing Tom Parker.

BristolCon 2017 was fab. I was manning the Grimbold stall for most of the day, assisted by a lot of glamorous assistants – the Grimbold crew are amazing! – and chatted to what felt like everyone. I was on the 10am panel about You Are The Product, which was also fab (and not long enough! We could have talked for the entire day…) and then unfortunately didn’t get to any others, but I heard a lot of people say they were really interesting.

I picked up some books, too – The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith-Spark, The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby, The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu and a random copy of The Road to Thule by David R Lee, which from a cursory glance I admit may go in my charity pile (I didn’t buy it, it was randomly in our stock! I suspect from a previous convention freebie table). But hey, I’ll try it, and I’m definitely looking forward to the others.

I’m wondering if I should spend some of December catching up on my reading, and sorting out my Goodreads…I have an entire shelf of books that I haven’t yet got to, along with quite a few on my Kindle! We’ll see how this month goes.

Speaking of…

NANO2017! I am writing words! I am aiming for 70k so my aim is 2300(ish) per day. Whether I’ll manage that or not remains to be seen. At any rate, I’m enjoying the story so far.

You can find me on the NaNoWriMo site, and there’s still time to join in if the idea of writing a novel in 30 days intrigues you!

In more general news, I have good days and bad days, and I’m not entirely coping with people (as in panic-attack-not-coping-with-people) so if I’m a little quiet, that’s why! I am trying to keep in contact though so I am still online and messaging. Book Polishers is still awesome so I’m just trundling along with work there, trying to get out for some lovely autumn walks, and trying to keep busy. Not that keeping busy is going to be an issue this month!

Now, I need to go write some words….wish me luck!

New Job: Book Polishers

Book Polishers: editing proofreading copyediting typesettingWell, so far, I’m loving the new job! I’ve taken over Book Polishers from the lovely Zoë, who’s (sensibly) gone back to full-time work. I, on the other hand, have opted for part admin (so I have one steady paycheck!), part writing, and part formatting. I’m bringing Scritto Editing in under the Book Polishers roof too – no point having two names for the same thing – and a lot of my private work is also coming under the same name, so I’m sorry for the next few months of confusion to anyone that I’m doing work for! It is all still me, honest.

I’m loving formatting – it definitely satisfies my need for order and just the right place for all the things, in addition to getting to play with fonts. I’m enjoying learning InDesign too! The rest is business as usual, at least where editing and proofreading is concerned – same ol’ same ol’ there!

I’m just finding my feet and my balance, and still getting things set up, but I’m taking work –  so if you have a book or any writing that you need edited, proofread, or anything that you want formatted, check out BookPolishers.com.