author, books, diary, novel, reading, writer, writing

Thursday 17th September 2020

Wow – it has been a tiresome two weeks! I apologise for not having written on here for a while; I’ve struggled getting back into the routine of work. My house has gone back to looking like a bomb site and I feel permanently tired, but it’s nice to be back at work, keeping busy. My new year 3 class are lovely, including the class teacher and my daughter is doing well in her new class as well. The school have been fantastic at helping everyone settle back into our new normal; the staggered start times and end times have flowed a lot easier and I’m getting the hang of planning for R. E – and teaching it.

My partner and I are close to living together which is great, but it may have to be further outside our town than I had anticipated. Hopefully this won’t cause too much bother with getting to and from work.

Rolo and Kinder, my dogs, were poorly last weekend so I suffered with a few nights of lost sleep, but they are all better now. They are allowed to sleep upstairs with us again and have been making the most of bedtime snuggles.

My daughter’s glasses broke so I decided to book an eye test as she was a few months overdue because of lockdown and now has to wait for two weeks for her new glasses to be delivered to store. I know it can’t be helped, COVID-19 has a lot to answer for, but it’s frustrating that she’s without glasses as she goes back to school and needs them to read the board etc.

Anyway, I have finished Sookie Stackhouse #12 and am reading #13 on the rare occasion that my eyes remain open when I get into bed. I have so many books on my bookshelf and kindle that I have no idea what to read next! Do I read something current, or read something that’s been out for a while now? Or maybe I could start creating a detailed plan for my next novel…

I have sent off my cover letter, synopsis and first three chapters of my novel to my editor, who will be looking at it over the next few days. Eek! I’m super nervous but excited at the same time to read back through some professional feedback. I’m aware that it still needs a lot of work, but I’m hoping I’ve nailed the beginning.

Thank you for your continued support. Have a lovely weekend and speak next week.

author, books, Boxsets, diary, Films and TV, novel, reading, writer, writing

Thursday 27th August 2020

Good evening you lovely lot! Hope your week has been an enjoyable one.

So, I haven’t looked at my novel one bit, still refusing to leaf back through anything in case I feel the need to tweak anything before I get some feedback. I’ve not heard back from anyone yet. Everyone seems to be busy but hopefully I will hear back by next weekend with some honest opinions about my overall story.

I finished reading How Not to Write a Novel and found it cleverly entertaining. There are only a handful of the examples that I’ve included in my novel. Not to say there aren’t any other mistakes, because I know there definitely are, but it’s nice to know that I haven’t completely messed up, that there’s a chance someone will read my novel without throwing it into the slush pile. I also read Strangers by C. L. Taylor which I loved. I have started Sookie Stackhouse #12 and have also been reading Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. After I’ve read each section, I’ve been mapping out my ideas for my next novel so I have a very basic plan in place. I’m just reading about the different genre types at the moment, wondering which one my novels would would fall under.

I’ve taken a break on Supernatural, and instead I watched Unbelievable on Netflix and am almost halfway through season one of Cuckoo. My daughter and I have made it onto season two of Doctor Who and we’re nearing the end of season two of Friends. My partner and I have almost finished season five of House and are continuing with APB. I’ve also watched Practical Magic (one of my favourite films) and Catwoman. I watched those films with my daughter when we had our girls night in.

Even though school starts again next Friday, I still haven’t completed my planning. Luckily I only plan for one subject a week to cover the class teacher’s planning time. This will be a weekend job for me. I will have to put my novels, reading books and TV to one side, and just focus on getting the planning sorted. Most of it is on the system anyway.

As the time draws closer, I’m feeling nervous about handing my work to an editor. It’s like handing my child to a stranger, trusting that they will nurture and develop it with the same amount of love. In fact, I think I’m scared to finish my novel full stop. Once I’ve finished all the revisions I’m capable of, it’s time to venture into the harsh reality of submitting to agents. Will I ever be ready to do this, or will I procrastinate for the next few years? I have a tendency to drag things out when they near an end; I don’t like the idea of finishing something and being done with it. I’m that awkward person who lingers on your doorstep trying to say goodbye for over an hour. The idea of querying an agent terrifies me. I’m aware that I’m going to have to deal with rejection, but I’m also aware that I’m going to find this awfully difficult. Criticism I can cope with – but not having my work rejected without an explanation. Guess I will cross that bridge when it’s time.

Thank you so much for your continued support, it really is appreciated. Wishing you all a fabulous weekend.

author, books, Boxsets, diary, Films and TV, novel, reading, writer, writing

Thursday 20th August 2020

Hi all, hope you’re well and have had a good week.

I finally finished my first round of revisions for my novel and included an extra 5k words. Whoop – go me! I’m feeling proud of myself this week for finishing my first full edit. I’ve not enjoyed the process and have had to force myself to get through the finishing line so that it’s ready for my editor to read through next month. Having not had a break between finishing my first draft and editing, I’ve decided that I’m not going to do my second lot of revisions until November so that I can come back to it with fresh eyes as well as the editor’s report. I hate to say it but I’m fed up of working on it now, I’m ready to start planning my next novel. I just need some time! Schools are back in a couple of weeks though and I need to do some planning. It never ends.

One thing I’m happy with is that I made some time for myself over the summer holidays to finish reading Sookie Stackhouse #11 and have made a start on How Not to Write a Novel. I’m breezing through it at the moment and have found it interesting to compare my writing to the bad examples of writing in the book. Have I done the same thing? Maybe I should reword some of my sentences? Have I described my setting enough? It definitely makes you question every single word in your manuscript and scrutinise them with a critical eye.

Another thing I have done is watch the first three seasons of Supernatural. They were all on Amazon Prime, which saved me from having to get my DVDs out, but they emailed me to say that the series will be removed today. Looks like I will be watching season four onward on DVD. I can’t even remember where I got up to – season seven I think. I’m also watching Doctor Who with my daughter; we are just over halfway through season one so we have a long way to go. I’ve been enjoying the choice of films on Prime and Netflix lately. I’ve watched Dumb and Dumber, The Mask, Hitch, Cruel Intentions, White Chicks, Blade and Blade 2. A series that I’ve been watching on TV with my partner is APB – it’s so good and cleverly written with a unique spin on an American cop drama.

My partner is away for the weekend so my daughter and I are going to be making the most of girl time. We are having a movie tonight tomorrow with one of her friends, we’re going to be doing face masks and painting nails and she loves playing with my hair. We may also bake some banana bread to have as a pudding after we make homemade chicken nuggets for dinner on Saturday. We’re going to have a blast!

Thank you once again for your time and support. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and will speak next week.

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Thursday 13th August 2020

Hello. I hope you’ve all had a lovely week.

I decided to re-edit some of the first few chapters so that I can go through one POV at a time. I have chosen my main protagonist (Andie) to revise first and finally finished my first set of revisions with her this afternoon. I aim to revise my second protagonist (Kaleb) tomorrow. he only has three chapters throughout the novel so should be nice and easy. This leaves me the weekend and next week to revise two more POVs before sending it out for feedback.

I would love to say that revisions have been fun and exciting, but I’ve found them stressful. Because I’m a newbie to writing, with no qualifications, I’m struggling with this process. I’ve enjoyed improving the writing and adding things in that were missed out in first draft, but I’m still not sure if I’m doing it the right way. It’s got me down the last few days. I’ve felt like a failure, like I’m wasting my time, like I’m not good enough. And the truth is – I can’t tell myself I’m not a failure because I’m still in the process of trying, I don’t yet know if I’m wasting my time, and I have no idea whether I’m good enough. One minute I feel positive, the next I feel down. One thing I have told myself, though, is that I’m not going to give up. I WILL revise my novel, the whole way through. I WILL act upon feedback I receive from my editor next month. I WILL try my luck with traditional publishing. If I don’t succeed through the traditional route then I WILL try self-publishing instead. It’s all a bit of a headache. I much prefer the planning and writing the first draft to revising. However, revision has been extremely beneficial at the same time.

Another thing I have struggled with is being an under-writer. I have read that I ideally need 70k words for the novel to have better chances of being accepted, but I’m over 10k words away from this target. Oops! I’ve increased my word count significantly with my first POV character, so I’m hoping the other three POV characters will help me climb closer to the 70k goal. If not, I’m hoping that my editor can give me some pointers. It’s too long to be a novella, so I need to up my game to be in with a chance.

Life at home has been pretty boring and uneventful this week. I’m still dieting but haven’t done any exercise yet. I wasn’t well last night so have sat on my laptop most of today; my daughter has been making drinks and giving me blankets as well as my much loved teddy bear. My daughter is actually my inspiration for writing my novel and she’s my motivation for continuing the journey.

I hope I’ve not been too depressing with my post today, just trying to relate how difficult I’m finding this writing process. Am I alone with this? Or is there anyone else that’s going/been through the same thing? I just want to walk into a bookstore one day to see my book on the shelf!

As ever, thank you for your continued support. I appreciate every second of your time – it’s precious! Have a great weekend and I’ll speak to you all next week.

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Thursday 6th August 2020

Hello everyone.

I apologise for not writing a blog post last Thursday. It was my partner’s birthday so we were celebrating with a few (or more) glasses of gin, and I thought it best to stay away from the keyboard in case I wrote something completely incoherent!

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been watching lots of videos on YouTube from Reedsy and iWriterly on how to self-edit and revise your first draft. If you haven’t already seen them then I highly recommend watching their videos with an editor who provide critiques on writing that has been sent in. The best one on Reedsy is First Line Frenzy with Rebecca Heyman. Viewers send in the first line of their novel and Rebecca will give honest feedback. There is one on iWriterly with Meg LaTorre and a guest editor/literary agent who ring a bell when they feel a literary agent would stop reading the first section of a manuscript. These videos have been super helpful and has given me food for thought.

So far, I’ve edited the first five chapters of my novel and intend to finish the first round of editing by the end of next week so that I can start my second revision and send it off to my feedback group to get their thoughts and opinions on the novel as a whole. I have found this process daunting; it’s been difficult finding relevant flaws in my character arcs and plot etc. I find it much easier to line edit my work. I have hired an editor for a developmental edit on the first ten thousand words of my novel. To say I’m excited is an understatement – if I could send it off now to get the feedback then I would, however, I am booked in for mid September. Hopefully I will have some feedback before then so I can make any necessary adjustments before sending it off.

Last week, I came to the realisation that I’ve put on far too much weight over the last three years (not just over lockdown), so I’m now on a diet and have lost two pounds already. I started the diet three days ago and I plan on starting an exercise routine next week. I want to feel good about myself again and I want my clothes to fit because I don’t have enough money to keep buying new clothes every time I go up a dress-size. My partner and daughter have agreed to diet with me – we are going to be a grumpy household for the next few weeks!

Thank you again for being the amazing readers you are. Have a fab weekend, speak next week.