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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 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.

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Thursday 23rd July 2020

Good evening to you all! I hope you’ve had a great week.

So, I would like to start off by saying that I was unsuccessful with the mentorship programme. They had over 1,500 applicants and only six spaces to hand out. I’m not upset; I was half expecting that result when they postponed the announcement date. It made me realise that I need to finish my first draft and give it a full revision so I can start querying.

The good news is that my partner and I have booked our wedding. We fell in love with the venue and are planning on paying it off by the end of next year to give us a chance to sort the extras out. We are super excited to have it booked after being engaged for a year already. The wedding won’t be until 2023 which gives us plenty of time to get things paid!

Work has finished now. I won’t be back in until September when the new academic year starts. It will be interesting to see how everything works with our new guidelines dependent on what’s happening with COVID-19 at that point. On the whole, I’m looking forward to a change; to be working with a new class teacher and to be with a new year group.

Some more good news – I finally finished the first draft of my novel! After two years of writing, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My job over the summer holidays is to self-edit like crazy and send the first chunk of my story to a developmental editor as I can’t afford the cost of sending the full manuscript over. I have decided to send a small chunk to get as much of the beginning scrutinised as possible and apply the feedback to the rest of my novel. I’m hoping that this will put me in a better position for querying. I really want to start sending my novel off to agents before the end of the year so that I can make a start on my next novel.

Thank you for reading, it means a lot! Have a lovely weekend and I will be back next week.

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Thursday 16th July 2020

Firstly, I would like to apologise for not writing a blog post last week. The reason why I didn’t write is because I was baking and icing cupcakes, boxing them and labelling them. On Friday morning, I gave one to my daughter. The sticker on the box read: Will you be my bridesmaid? She said YES! Later on that evening, I handed a cake to both my sisters and to two of my closest friends who all agreed. My partner and I are going to view the venue we would like over the weekend to put a deposit down. It’s starting to feel real now that we are making arrangements.

Next, I’ve hardly done any reading over the last two weeks so that I can focus any spare time on my novel. I now have one chapter to tweak and one chapter to finish writing until my first draft is complete. It’s all coming together. I plan on printing it out next week to do a full revision before sending it out to my feedback group to get their opinions on the story as a whole, including the plot twist.

From Tuesday, I will have the summer holidays off work to dive into my reading and writing. I’m still undecided about an editor. Again, it comes down to money – and my lack of it! Tomorrow is the announcement date for the mentorship programme. Due to the number of applicants, I doubt I will get a place, but I’m holding out hope for some good news in the middle of this rubbish experience we are all part of.

I hope you’ve had a good couple of weeks and have a fabulous weekend. Thank you for your continued support. Speak next week.