Since I started writing my debut novel this year, I have been considering a number of different writing courses to help me learn more about the craft of writing and also how to self-publish. I have picked up lots of information from the internet of course but I still feel that a face-to-face course would be beneficial. So I was very pleased yesterday to see a tweet about just such a course in London at the end of October.
I’d not come across this site before so that was a bonus and I bookmarked it at once, as well as following Charlie, who runs the site, on Twitter. What really persuaded me to book the course is that it’s being led by Joanna Penn whose website I have been following for a while so I know that she really knows her stuff.
As well as this, it is perfectly tailored to where I am on my writing journey. The course is called ‘How to finish and publish your book’ and I am hoping, no, confident that I will have finished it by then so that I can really make the most of their advice on the day.
I have had a fantastic writing weekend this week and am really steaming towards the end now. My aim is to finish very soon so that I have a couple of weeks before the masterclass to rest away from my manuscript before starting the process of editing proper in November. However, by then it will be NaNoWriMo and the challenge I have set myself for this year, is to make a head start on the first draft of my second novel! Woohoo, how about that?! I am starting to feel like I’m a writer now, not just an aspiring one which is why I changed the title of my blog last week too 🙂
I hope your writing is going well. I’d love to hear from you about it so do leave a comment about the ups and downs of your writing week.
It’s been a good week for me, writing-wise and I wanted to let you know why. First of all, I am now working part-time rather than full-time which meant that I got a lot more writing done and what’s more, I could write all day and not feel self-indulgent! That’s a great feeling, I can tell you.
Secondly, I heard about The Festival of Romance which is taking place in Bedford, not far from me, on the weekend of the 8th November. There will be lots of romance writers and publishers there and they are also running some workshops. If you haven’t already heard of it, you should have a look online here.
I have also taken the plunge and decided to enter my first chapter into their New Talent award competition. Of course, I would love to win the competition but even if I don’t, I have paid extra to have my chapter professionally critiqued which I think will be very useful advice.
Finally, I have been reading lots of helpful advice from writing people on the internet encouraging me to keep my head down until I have finished my first draft and to not get tempted by the prospect of editing before I do so. I have already fallen into this trap to some extent and it has been really hard to deal with. So, I’m taking that advice, ploughing on and feeling much better about the first draft being completed soon.
I have added some new website links to my website as a result. Have a look in case you find them helpful and if you know of any others you’d recommend, do let me know!
Off to do some more writing now 🙂
I have been learning a lot of new vocabulary since I started writing this first novel of mine. One of these words has been ‘pantser’, meaning a writer who just sits down and writes without necessarily having every aspect of their story planned out in their minds. I was definitely a ‘pantser’ when I started writing my novel but when I got to 70,000 words and realised I didn’t know how to end the story, with the help of Scrivener, I became someone who outlines the story first. Except that I had to do it in reverse and I am still going!
I have got to the point in the story that I wanted to change. I’ve changed it and then worried that was the wrong decision (aargh!) but I am trying to plough on and it really is a nightmare job 🙁 This is because I am outlining, writing and editing all at the same time and I feel like I might be going slightly mad in the process.
So no more flying by the seat-of-my-pants next time. I am definitely going to outline the next one before I start. That’s assuming that I finish writing, editing, rewriting, proofreading this one….
Here’s a link to just one interesting article I read on this very subject.
As I explained in my last post, I have been editing the first part of my novel and rewriting large chunks of the story too. I have been reading a lot about the three act structure and trying to make my novel conform to this which, if you are a writer, you will know is easier said than done. I do feel happier about the first part of the story now because I have slowed down the romance a bit and made the falling in love more realistic in the process (I hope!)
I have also been editing as I’ve gone along, using the notes I made on my hard copy, as well as the comments I have received from Authonomy users and a few select friends and loved ones but as I have also been reading a lot of tips for new writers about editing, this seems to be a never ending task!
For example, I find The Creative Penn to be a fantastic website and have used the school holidays to start reading all the emails I subscribed to receive from Joanna, as well as trying to keep up with all the new posts. This one from yesterday, was really useful for pointing out what editors will look for but it also frightened the life out of me! I like to think that I am very literate, with a background in foreign languages and some years of teaching English in schools now under my belt but there are still a fair number of things in the post that I feel less than confident about.
Then there was this list of an editor’s top ten tips from BubbleCow.
Again, it will be really helpful as I work my way through it but it is also quite daunting. So, what to do? Well, I know that I will ask a professional editor to work on my finished novel, when that day finally comes so for now, I can only do what I feel confident doing and accept that when I have done all I can, that is the time to hand over to the experts.
For now, it’s on to part two for more of the same. To quote another writer, ‘Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.’ 🙂 Good luck with your writing, editing, rewriting in the coming week and please do post any comments on how you’re getting on with the process.
Wow, I have finally broken the back of this in the past couple of days after a lot of procrastination. I started by importing my manuscript into Scrivener and then I split it up into parts, chapters and scenes. This took a bit of time but it also allowed me to move bits around much more easily and I knew I wanted to do this. I have also written a synopsis for each scene I have edited and/or rewritten and I have kept all the bits I have moved in a separate ‘scene’ to fit back in later.
Perhaps I should explain that I had received a comment from an Authonomy friend that my two main characters fall in love a bit too quickly and after some thought, I agreed that this was probably true. I also felt that this might be part of the reason why I didn’t know how to finish the story.
So once I had everything set, the editing part seemed much easier. I have also been rereading my first draft, making notes on a hard copy about the edits I needed to make, as well as looking at comments I have received from Authonomy reviews. It has therefore been hard but nevertheless, rewarding work and I feel like I have made tons of progress today. This wasn’t what I had planned to do today actually but on a rainy day, it seemed like a good plan and now that I have almost finished the first five chapters, the sun has come out 😉
If you are putting off editing, using a software package like Scrivener can really take away that daunting feeling. I would recommend it and it’s such good value. The lesson I have learned from this though, is that I need to write my next book (!), including an outline, in Scrivener first to save myself an awful lot of time.
I have just finished writing my 10,000 words and it feels great to have met my goal. Mind you, I know that lots of other people have met much higher targets but this was manageable for me and I honestly don’t think I could have done any more this month. The challenge will be to keep motivated to finish my novel now. I’m off on holiday soon and it would be wonderful to finish before then but I don’t think I’ll have time. I’m going to take some time away from the novel after that to give it time to settle before I start editing and move on to the next part of my journey. For anyone else doing Camp, keep up the good work and good luck!
Well, we are officially on our school holidays now and this has meant that I have really been able to step up a gear as far as my writing is concerned. I really want to meet my word count goal of 10,000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo and today, I hit 8,052 words!!! I am so pleased. I feel absolutely confident of meeting my goal by the end of the month. I will still have to finish my novel of course but I am hoping to finish the first draft this summer and then to give myself some breathing space before tackling any editing. I have now written more than 80,000 words for this novel and I really never would have thought myself capable of doing that so that’s another thing I am pleased about. Happy holidays to all teachers and to all children out there 🙂