May slipped by and June has been here a week so it must be time for a quick cuppa and a catch-up.
Though I have made inroads to my WIP with nearly 50,000 words, I began to be overwhelmed by the disjointed scenes my brain had conjured and my inability to arrange them in a coherent chronological order. I found myself caught in a writing slump. Luckily, I heard that Shaunta Grimes was doing a course – ninja write a long (NWAL) and this was an opportunity to revisit my synopsis and characters; to get back on track. It is early days but I feel more upbeat and determined to finish Amber’s tale and a secret project, one Elsie is excited about.
My plans to be organised for the beginning of NWAL fell apart with an injured hand and then a weekend hospital admission. Though my hand is better than before, physio and painkillers are the way forward to get it back to full use. If I was slow before, I am on snail pace now.
This is the month for taking stock and moving forward towards my goals.
I plan to
follow NWAL’s mantra to read and write every day
enter two writing competitions
solidify my characters and backstories
arrange my scenes into chronological order – a big task
research settings for Amber and Willow
research Whitby history and folklore
delve into the world of witchcraft and Druidry
Make mood boards for my main characters
Books read in May
Some unique and wonderful books have been read in May including my favourite of the year and possibly my lifetime.
The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton. I was eager to read this after reading the short story Alive. It did not disappoint.
We Others by Sue Bentley. This book has got under my skin for its imagery, setting, and characters. If you love fantasy and magical realism find a copy and enjoy. My review on Duvet Dwellers Books is here. It is Elsie’s favourite book too so I apologise in advance if it is talked about a lot.
The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper. A romance it has a unique premise of a woman aptly named Melody sings when anxiety kicks in. It’s funny, heartbreaking and clever. There is an accompanying playlist to give the reading experience an added layer.
My current WIP has been in the making since my teenage years when I was obsessed with astral projection, magic and Nightmare on Elm Street. It has evolved since the first draft written at that time. I hope so, since the ending to that one involved a visit to McDonalds. It is a YA fantasy/supernatural story with some reality thrown in following 15 year old Amber as she is trapped in the world of Ellfaen with only her alcoholic father to help.
It has always been my plan to release Amber’s diary online to accompany my novel The Hollow * as a sneak in to the world of Ellfaen. Her story begins at the beginning of the school year so it was only appropriate (or complete madness)to release it now. If you want be nosy and sneak a look into her private diary you can find them here.
It is May already, the garden is making tentative moves towards its glorious summer display. The daffodils have been replaced by the tulips. It is a complete change from the grey skies of winter, bare trees and shrubs and the muddy lawn churned up by excitable Jack Russells. There is hope we may have a lawn again in time for sunny weather.
My novel with the working title of The Hollow has been plotted on the plotting board and cork version on Scrivener. The characters created are eager to tell their side of the tale. They have been jostling each other demanding they should be heard first but then nothing. Zilch. No words have been written apart from random notes hastily written on various apps or scraps of paper when the voices refused to be ignored or inspiration for a scene hits. I feel a failure before I have really begun. Life has got in the way; mainly ill health with the overwhelming fatigue it brings and the medication that numbs the pain and allows you to type/write for short bursts has the effect of zapping any creativity like a writer’s kryptonite. Even going to my writer’s group has fallen to the wayside but as I head towards another year older this month, it is time to regroup and grab the words when I can so this work in progress gets completed, no matter how slow or sporadic I will be.
The Christmas tree is up, lights are twinkling and dressed in all its finery with each bauble having its own memory or story attached – a plot idea maybe? I love this time of year though the festive atmosphere makes it is hard to focus on the current work in progress. It would be so easy to let it wander into the realms of a Christmas tale. Will setting the novel in the run up to Christmas add to the tension or make it twee? Maybe as I curl up with a hot cup of Christmas tea, my dog and my laptop perched precariously on my knee, I should write a Christmas short story to get it out of my system?
Nanowrimo went as well as I expected. I did not reach the required 50,000 words – not even close with my measly 7,828 words but I have made in roads in planning the plot, knowing my characters and place. I am trying to focus on this rather the dismal lack of words. I am plodding on with a course run by the energetic and enthusiastic Shaunta Grimes. It has helped so much to keep me focused and write every day. It may only be a snatched minutes during the day or longer if I awake early but words are being typed. If I am not writing I am plotting or allowing my imagination run riot. I have spent so long keeping my imagination in a box, it is enjoying its freedom. I may never be the writer I aspire to be but I am happier for releasing this side of me, talking about writing with others and gaining support from fellow Ninja Writers. Every place I go or experience I have, whether it is being mesmerized by shops in York or waiting for a hospital appointment, the emotions, scenes, and senses are stored for another day when I may need them. I am looking forward to what 2017 brings in relation to the ideas I may have, the places I may visit and the characters I may meet.