How I uploaded my WIP to Kindle from Scrivener for a re-read before Camp NaNoWriMo

DSCN8259Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow (eek!) and as you may remember, I have set myself a target of adding 25K to my second novel, provisionally called ‘Seeking Approval’ that I started last November. I’ve been so busy trying to edit/rewrite my first novel, ‘From Here to Nashville’ for submission to the RNA that I have had no time to look at the second one since last year and so I felt that a reread was in order before I start writing again tomorrow. The time had come for me to learn how to upload a novel to my Kindle. I read up about it first on one of the Scrivener tutorials and already knew that I would have to ‘compile’ the document but I had no idea what to do after that. Well, I struggled on with a bit of help from my husband and I uploaded my story to my Kindle, having downloaded Kindle Gen from Amazon. I was so excited to have done it that I even took a picture! It felt great to see my book and my name in my list of contents on my Kindle front page. When I opened the story though, I could see there were a few formatting issues which I had no idea how to resolve and although this isn’t a major concern at the moment, I will need to know how to fix these issues at some point.

Luckily, I had signed up for a free webinar last week, organised by Joanna Penn, the indie author, and Joseph Michael, known as The Scrivener Coach. In fact, so many other people had signed up for it too that when we all logged in to watch the webinar last Thursday, the site crashed! However, they re-recorded it and the very next day, they sent us a recording of the whole thing to watch at our leisure. There were many useful topics covered on the webinar and I was pleased to see that I already use Scrivener quite effectively. However, I also picked up a lot of tips and tricks and Joe did a step-by-step explanation of how to compile your work-in-progress for Kindle. For example, I hadn’t even realised that I had also downloaded the Kindle Previewer from Amazon which would have allowed me to see the formatting problems and fixed them before I uploaded my novel to my Kindle to read. Joe explained that you can even set up an e-book template to use each time you upload a novel to your Kindle or when you’re ready to publish so that you don’t have to remember how to do it each time.

I was pleasantly surprised with the writing of this story and I was easily able to make notes on the text of some edits I wanted to make whilst I was actually reading. I now feel ready to carry on with the story tomorrow with the start of Camp NaNo and I don’t feel anywhere near as daunted as I did previously. Starting tomorrow, my target is to write 1000 words a day minimum to make my target of 25K by the end of the month. The sharp mathematicians amongst you will think this should be easy, given that there are 30 days in April but don’t forget, I’m off to New York for six days so I’ve given myself a bit of leeway 😉

If you’re taking part in Camp NaNo, what’s your goal in April and how have you prepared for it? Let me know in the comments below. Wishing you all lots of luck. See you round the fire 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Julie Stock and My Writing Life, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Stock and My Writing Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Kicking off 100 Happy Days with my Birthday

DSCN8244Well, yesterday was my birthday and it was such a lovely day with my family that I decided to start my 100 Happy Days Challenge. We have so many great things coming up that the time seemed right. We went to visit a wonderful National Trust property yesterday in Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, called Peckover House. The gardens were superb and the house was a little gem from the Georgian era, with an interesting history. I really enjoyed the visit and I felt I came away with a few new story ideas at least. My family spoilt me and we enjoyed a good day together, watching a soppy rom-com when we got home and then sharing a delicious home-cooked meal in the evening. My husband and I cuddled up to watch the latest episode of Nashville before bed, bringing the day to a perfect close. I have such a lot to be thankful for.

On the writing front, I have now finished the proper second draft of my debut novel. Yippee! It still needs so much work but I really feel I need help to complete what I hope will be the final draft. I’m going to send it to my writing friend, Cat, to read and to another of my friends who I know will give me an honest opinion. I expect them to have a lot of comments which I will have to take on the chin and try to incorporate before I send my manuscript off to the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA). As I have signed up to do Camp NaNoWriMo in April, I will have to manage my time very carefully to get all these things done. I do have until the end of August to send my manuscript off for the RNA New Writers’ Scheme Assessment but I’d rather send it before then if I can.

My aim then is to send my second draft off to my readers today and move on to some planning for Camp NaNo which starts a week tomorrow, eek! I can then work on my Camp NaNo project for ten days before we go off on holiday to New York and a further fourteen days when I get back which should be enough time to meet my goal of writing 25k in April. Then, in May, if not before, I should be able to do a final polish of my RNA manuscript, sending it off by the end of the month at the latest. Phew! It feels really good to lay out a plan like this to motivate myself to keep moving forwards.

I was lucky enough to receive two lovely writing related presents for my birthday which will also help to keep me motivated. One was a subscription to Writing Magazine which is full of all kinds of helpful articles for the new writer like me. The second was a place on another of Write Stars’ writing courses which I’ll be attending this coming Saturday. I’ve also signed up to ‘attend’ a webinar this Thursday on getting the most out of Scrivener which I’ve been using for a while but I know I could get so much more from.

So another busy week beckons and I think I’m ready for the challenge. What have you got coming up on the writing front this week? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Julie Stock and My Writing Life, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Stock and My Writing Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Finding new inspiration at a Country Music festival

WP_20140316_048Some of you reading this blog may know that I spent the day at the Country to Country Music Festival in London yesterday. This is actually a two day festival but I had never been before so I only went for the one day this year. However, it was such a fabulous day that I really am tempted to go for the whole weekend next year 🙂

I am a new convert to country music, having only got into it last year as a result of watching the TV programme ‘Nashville’. Even though some of my family members have always liked it, and I have liked some of the greats, like Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell etc for years, I didn’t really think of it as my kind of music until I saw that programme on TV. I found the music so inspiring that I started looking for other more contemporary country music singers on Spotify and the next thing I knew, I was hooked. My favourite band in the early days of my conversion was Lady Antebellum and I really liked the hot, sexy nature of some of their songs so much so that I decided to write my own contemporary romance with a country music theme. Yesterday, I got to see another band that I have come to love, ‘The Band Perry’ and they even sang one of the songs that my main character covers in my novel, which is possibly my favourite song of theirs. My daughter has also been converted and she introduced me to Brad Paisley who we also saw perform yesterday and he is responsible for leaving me with his latest song, ‘Mona Lisa’ going round and round my head this morning! A truly lovely guy and a great performer.

One of the best experiences of the day though was being able to see up and coming bands on pop-up stages around the O2 arena. This idea really inspired me and I’m definitely going to add it in to my story somehow 🙂 The best band we saw on a pop-up stage was a Scottish duo, no less, called Raintown. Some of you might already know them because they’re really doing well and they were absolutely fantastic live and seem to have a great following already. If you don’t know them, you really should check them out.

So this year, I went to the UK festival for one of my birthday presents. The only other thing I want to do now is to go to Nashville itself and I have already told my family that that’s what I want to do next year for my big birthday!

After such an inspiring day yesterday, I feel reinvigorated to carry on with my rewrite of ‘From Here to Nashville’ once more and I feel more hopeful that the end is in sight now. Going to the festival couldn’t have come at a better time for me, giving me just the motivation I need to keep going.

What motivates you to carry on with you writing? Let me know by leaving a comment below, I love to hear from readers of my blog. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Julie Stock and My Writing Life, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Stock and My Writing Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Prepping for my first April Camp NaNoWriMo

Screenshot 2014-03-10 10.23.32It is coming up to a year since I started writing my first novel. This time last year, I hadn’t even heard of NaNoWriMo. I just sat down at my computer one day, inspired to write a story and got on with it, by the seat of my pants. Then I heard about Camp NaNo coming up in July and decided to set myself a goal so that I would keep writing. By then, I already had 70,000 words but I was finding it tough to keep going. I had no idea that writing would be so hard 😉 So, I set myself a modest goal of writing 10,000 words last July which seemed manageable whilst I was still working full-time. Once I had a goal and it was written down somewhere, I knew I would meet it and I did.

In November last year, I used my first proper NaNoWriMo to start my second novel and wrote just over 50,000 words on that story in the month. Since then though, I have written nothing further on it because I have been busily rewriting my first ‘pantser’ novel. Next month’s Camp is going to be for novel number 2 then but before I can go back to it, I must do some PLANNING! Having written one story and half of a second one, the most important lesson I have learned in this past year, is that I am a natural planner when it comes to writing, as with all other things in my life. I so bitterly regret not having planned my first story. So when it come to starting the second one, I tried to outline what I was going to write before getting started. I did write an outline of sorts but what I then wrote did go off at a bit of a tangent and I know there is a lot to fix in the 50,000 words I have already written. Aargh!

I am therefore going to have to spend a bit of time this month getting myself ready before I write again. The thing is, I don’t really have the time to do lots of rewriting before I start but if I just carry on, there will be a ton of rewriting to do when I get to the end! I have decided to start by re-reading what I’ve got so far in order to identify any potential plot-holes, making notes on my Scrivener file where they occur so that I can pick up on them later. After that, I’m going to just get straight on with writing. I have read a lot of advice about outlining before writing and the common theme that comes up is that you are ‘allowed’ to veer off course from what you originally planned and so I’m going to give myself the freedom to do that. It’s not like me but maybe that will be good for me, to just follow my characters and see where they take me. I’ll just have to hope they won’t take me so far off course that rewriting further down the line becomes a nightmare!

Are you taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo this April? If so, what are you doing to get ready? Leave me a comment in the notes below. It would be great to hear from you. As always, thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Julie Stock and My Writing Life, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Stock and My Writing Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rewriting, Time Travel and Van Gogh

DSC_2216I am about a third of the way through the rewrite of my debut novel. Since I wrote my synopsis after the first draft and realised where the plot-holes were, it has been a long slog rewriting the story to be what I want it to be. Had I written an outline before writing that first draft, I know that things would have been a lot easier but it’s simply too late to worry about that now. However, I have learned that lesson for next time (I hope!)

So now, I am trying to move on to the next part of the rewrite and I was hoping that things would be a bit easier from here on in, that there wouldn’t be so much to change in the story but sadly, I was wrong. It’s becoming a bit like time travel, as in the lovely Richard Curtis film, ‘About Time,’ which I watched with my family recently. The main character finds out he can travel backwards in time but when he tries to put past wrongs right, he affects the future in other ways and then has to rearrange all his changes. Well, my story is feeling a bit like that because if I change when the characters make love for the first time for example, it will affect many chapters before and after in many different ways. Suddenly, what seemed like a small change becomes a nightmare!

My current problem is that in my first draft, my main character, Rachel, made a demo CD with Jackson, her love interest, in London before he went back to Nashville. He then took it back with him to play to his colleagues at his record label before she comes out to join him there. In this draft though, she goes out to Nashville to make the demo CD. So, I have to condense many chapters down and get her to Nashville much more quickly so she can make the demo CD and the rest can follow. Since I know this is going to be hard, I am putting off getting started but I am under some pressure to get this all rewritten now, having set myself a deadline of finishing by the end of March if possible.

I’ve been wondering what can I do to push myself to make a start? Well, yesterday, I had a lovely day out with my friend, as we always do when our birthdays are coming up (they are a day apart, later this month). We visited the National Gallery in London to see Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. I have always loved Van Gogh’s art and always feel so saddened by the tragic life he led, despite being such a talented artist. The two paintings we saw yesterday were painted only months apart and for some of the time, he was in an asylum, yet the beauty he managed to create during such a terrible time in his life is remarkable. With Van Gogh’s example as my inspiration, maybe it’s time to tackle this next phase of rewriting head-on and who knows, I might end up with something good at the end, not in Van Gogh’s league but something I am pleased with when I finish.

What or who is your inspiration when you get stuck in your writing? Do let me know in the comments below and thank you, as always for continuing to read my blog 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Julie Stock and My Writing Life, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Stock and My Writing Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.