What do you call yours?

What do you call your writing room/space? Mine has recently be renamed the Domestic Sluttery.
This has been since,
1. My boyfriend heard them discussed on Radio 2,
2. The hallway (see last Wednesday’s post) is in a permanent state of redecoration and all the painting paraphernalia is being stored round my desk.

One of my Round of Word 80 goals, (visit Kait Nolan’s Blog for more on this here) was to tidy up my writing space.

I sped ahead with this goal, but needless to say I have now made some astonishing back tracks from this,

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to this…

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Originally, the word ‘slut’ meant dirty and came to mean someone with poor housekeeping skills. According to Radio 2 a ‘domestic sluttery’ was a place where Victorian gentlemen went to go and have their ideas. The room expected to be messy.

I (bravely, I think) googled the word before posting. To my surprise this website http://www.domesticsluttery.com/ , appeared in place of the naked ladies. Its tag line is, The home and lifestyle blog for women who have better things to do. If you need gifts for a nephew, or need to know how to make baking easy then this is the place for you.  After a few minutes digging about I feel like there is some feminist commentary to be had here.
I think the word’s perfect and I’m having a sign made. Provided my boyfriend will late me bang a hook into one of his freshly glossed doors!
As for my writing goals, it’s only 8.15 am here and I have a whole, so far empty, Sunday until 6pm when my boyfriend’s dad is coming round for dinner. I’m not cooking so that gives me pretty much a whole day to drag myself  track. Wish me and my coffee cup luck.

What do you call your writing space/study? And how are the Round of Word 80 goals going?

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Insecure Writer’s Support Group and ROW80 check in

After two weeks the hallway is still not decorated. This may be due to both my boyfriend and I having full time jobs, or it may be because my boyfriend is a perfectionist with a paint brush. Either way there has not been much writing this week.

Sorry, Round of Word 80 goals.

 

Has everyone else had more luck this week? And if you think you can do better and want to try head over to Kait Nolan’s blog.

Consequently there are a great many things I feel insecure about this month.

Kindly, Alex J. Cavanaugh, secret Ninja of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, has given me a chance to share.

However, I’m too angry and tired to give in to them just at the moment.  In a previous post I wrote about a colleague leaving work, and how his manager praised his professional accomplishments.  When I imagined what my manager would say about me when I left it was the realisation that I wanted her to be congratulating me because I’d bagged the book deal at the end of the rainbow.

And to rehash another previous post, if that doesn’t happen that’s fine.  I want to write, I will write and I will continue to love it.

At least I will when the hallway is finished!

Bring it on.

So how is everyone else this month? I’ll be off to check up on you in a moment, but in the mean time please share below.  

Time to Grow up and ROW80 Check in

When I started writing I was very much a pantser, the term used for those writers who don’t plot but fly by the seat of their pants.  Recently though I’ve moved to the plotting camp.  Last week I wrote about the zen of small plates, and the fact that I should enjoy what time we have, specifically within the creative process.  I think my move to plotting is linked to this, and an acknowledgement that it is time to grow up.

For my first National Novel Writing Month, back in 2010, I sat down and bashed out 50,000 words easily.  It was thrilling flying into the blank white page, able to create whatever I liked.  Other pantsers that I have spoken to have a similar rush, and that’s what makes them love the writing method.

By the time I reached the end of my novel though, my plot had been shored up in so many places the believability of it was creaking to breaking point.  Surely though, that is what the re-writes are for?

Well, partly. But how many re-writes, drafts and revisions does it take before the thing is finished? I recently found a link on twitter which spoke about getting a novel done in 5 drafts.  My current MS has taken many more than that.  And enjoying the creative process is fine, but I think another lesson from the small plate is that we must also make the most of the time we have.  I feel like I’m wasting time with all these drafts. Time that could have been saved if I’d plotted the damn thing properly in the first place.

Yes, it’s time to grow up and get me a system.

Of course back when I started it I was doing it with no serious publishing goal.  I just drifted around playing with the characters and building the world and I don’t regret any of that because it was fun. However, now I can’t help wondering how closer I would be to finishing  if I’d planned that story properly from the start.

Sitting down to properly plot something (as I’m doing with this year’s National Novel Writing project) makes me feel rather like I’m suddenly taking this whole writing thing seriously.  That now I’m thinking about the final product and an author platform I simply don’t have the luxury of playing about as I used to.  Every time I get out my scene cards, the carefree days of writing childhood slip further behind me.  Is that a good thing? Or am in danger of losing some of the spontaneity that can be so crucial to a finished manuscript? Hmm…

Plus, when some one asks what you’re doing its fun to say ‘plotting’ and watch their reaction.  It’s surprising how many people look at you like you’re an evil genius getting ready to take over the world.

So, plotter of pantser? Or what made you realise that it was time to grow up and take things seriously?

If you are here for the Round of Word’s Update then you know all about Kait Nolan’s blog.

So far this week I have been plotting, or rather revising the plot that I have already. Marked the plot points and the pinch points (according to Rock Your Plot) and have cut some scenes and some characters.  I’m wondering if I can cut anymore without crying?

How about you?

The Zen of Small Plates

This blog post is about how a small plate started to change my attitude to life. If you’re here for the Round of Words 80 update scroll to the bottom.

Not so long ago my boyfriend and I moved into his dad’s house.  Prior to that I was used to having my own place and after the first three months or so I began to find the lack of space and agency a bit trying.

Bizarrely one of the things that really got to me was the size of the plates. These plates were massive white things with a diameter of 31.5cm, while an average plate has a diameter of 27.5cm.  This doesn’t seem like a hell of a lot until you pile it up with dinner. Needless to say, always the glutton, I started putting on weight. Around the time it became uncomfortable to sit down in my work trousers I stopped being pathetic and did two things,

  1. I started swimming again
  2. I bought a smaller plate.

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Both of these things probably contributed to shedding some of that weight and just generally feeling happier about things, but it was the smaller plate that made me start to reconsider how I faced life. As I had considerably less to eat now than the two boys (with their extra 500 calories a day according to the NHS) I ate slower so I wouldn’t always finish first. This led to savouring the food more rather than just wolfing it down as I’m normally prone to do because I’m already busy thinking about the next task on the list.

The lesson of the small plate can be applied to other things too.  It helps me with my writing stress as before I’ve always been panicking about how much I have to do to be ‘successful’ in my own head. Now though I find myself slowing down and enjoying the creative process more, and talking to the people I meet on social media for their own sake, not because I have to make as many friends as possible.  There’s only so much time to go around after all, best enjoy it while I can.

What about you? Do you feel like there’s too much to do and no time? How do you cope with the pressure of it all?

On to Round of Words. For more info go to the blog.

  • I’ve been terrible with updates and didn’t post at all last week, mostly due to some problems with my lap top not wishing to talk to WordPress. These aren’t fixed yet but in the meantime my boyfriend’s lap top seems to be working ok with the web pages.
  • I have now uploaded two posts not Insecure Writer’s Support Group or Round of Words 80 related, and I’m hoping to get back to regular blog updates to justify spending money on my own website in the future.  Maybe. We’ll see how that goes.
  • Taken a break from plotting out my National Novel Writing Month project for November, will return to it in September but have been revising my MS like a demon this week.  I’m hoping to sort out the climax by the beginning of August so I can then go back for another round of tweaks.  This is a long shot but worth a try.
  • Been keeping up with reading other people’s blogs and discovered some new ones. All good.

How has everyone else been doing?

Hanging in there – RoW80 Check in

 

For more information on RoW80 visit the blog

Not quite as productive this week.  I did read Throne of Glass, another book of my ‘Fraidy Cat list. And I survived.  Looking forward to the sequel (out in August).

Taking a break from confronting my fears now though and reading and old favourite (Dreaming the Eagle by Manda Scott) interspersed with snippets from Rock your Revisions as my two week break is up and I need to start tinkering with my MS again, plus I still have to get some more off to my CP before she forgets what has already happened.

Her comments on the first half have been really helpful and I have so many ideas to make things clearer that I’m tempted to start revising before she’s had a chance to be helpful with the rest.

I have done some more plotting for my NaNo novel too, using the Rock your Plot guidelines and part of a system I picked up from Plot and Structure. I can highly advise doing this.  Everything makes so much more sense when it’s set out like this and I can see where there are splurges of just one character are and where all the character arcs don’t match up.

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My boyfriend thought I was trying to invent my own card game.

I’ve also been good at leaving comments on other people’s blogs but rubbish at updating my own.  It’s not that I lack ideas, but I find it really stressful looking for pictures to make the post appear interesting.  That’s why I take so many of my own.  That is my primary goal for next week – I will load one blog post that is not ROW80 or IWSG related.

 

 

 

 

A Good Start? – RoW80 Sunday check in

The Wednesday check in was ducked as it was Insecure Writer’s Support Day. Made it today though and think I’m going to comment on other posts on Wednesdays but only check in myself on Sundays.  There is just too much to do.

As always I had to go back and check that I’d actually done things that were on my list instead of going off on tangents.

1. Writing space tidy.

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2. Start plotting for NaNo project

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The scribblings of a crazy person or the next best seller? Probably the former, but it was fun to sketch out ideas for the world and characters that way. I also downloaded Rock Your Plot after Shanjeniah recommended its sister book Rock your Revisions.

3. After deciding almost entirely that the first book of my ‘fraidy cat list was to be The Discovery of Witches I went and read Daughter of Smoke and Bone in three days with my heart on edge and my hair on end the whole time.

My cop out review is here, http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10763598-daughter-of-smoke-and-bone. I don’t say much but it was one of those books that was so close to perfect it hurt and far from making me want to give up on writing for ever it inspired me to make my own writing better.

However, I did remember that I still owe my CP the next instalment of my MS to read. So before I get carried away with revisions I should probably make it legible and send it off. Oops.

So, how’s everyone else doing?

Round of Words 80 check in

Wow, first and only check in for two weeks.  Haven’t written as much as I expected to of my WIP, but I have been doing an awful lot of research.  As a result I’m planning a day trip to London with my camera and my 1813 A to Z so I can scout out locations.

Although I’m not making head way in the areas I expected hope can be found in the fact that I still have the whole of March to reach my target. NaNo has proved that I can write a novel in a month so keep your fingers crossed for me.

RoW80 Sunday Check in 20.1.13

Can’t stay for long as my revisions have taken a new turn.  One of my problems has always been too many characters and an overly complicated plot.  This week I have had the brain wave of merging a couple of characters and changing the relationship between a few of them.

This makes everything much more sensible, exciting and streamlined. It also means I’m practically back at square one in terms of revisions again so have more to do. I don’t mind though. It’s fun.

Saturday also saw my short story posted on SFF online so now that’s out of the way I can stop thinking about it.

Hope everyone else is still on top of things.

Word of the Week – Competence and ROW80 update

‘Money can only give happiness  where there is nothing else to give it.  Beyond a competence it can afford no real satisfaction as far as self is concerned. ‘

Sense and Sensibility.

Here a competence means enough money.  I discovered this by reading What Matters in Jane Austen by John Mullan.  The chapter on money has been really useful in giving another dimension to one of my opera cape twirling bad guys.

He’s a younger son living of half army pay.  He needs to get money through marriage. Until he secures himself a rich bride, gambling is the principle way he supplements his income.

This realisation helped give him a goal as he’s been bought up in wealth and now forced to try and make his own way in a world where respectable methods of earning money or making name for himself are drastically limited.  Of course he is still self-interested, rather too fond of his own reflection and deluded about his own worth, but I know what truly makes him tick much better now. Essentially he’s a pretty, delicate, incredibly useless piece of decoration and he finds that frustrating.

I’ve also managed to finish the short story I mentioned on Sunday, so no more excuses for avoiding what I should be writing.

How’s everyone else doing?

 

 

 

 

 

Word of the Week – Gothic

From now until the end of March the regular Word of the Week slot is sharing space with the Wednesday Round of Words in 80 Days update.

This week’s Word of the Week is Gothic. And as this is a writer’s blog, I’m going to waffle about it in literature. In its first incarnation ‘My Book’ was called A Little Light Gothic. The word, a little bit like ‘witch’, is one that is a slippery as oil as it is constantly be redefined.

The grandaddy of Gothic Romance is The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764). A better known example may be Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho which, along with The Monk by Matthew Lewis, are mentioned in Northanger Abbey.

They are great books because they are full of horror and spookiness, sexiness and remote locations. They constantly have innocent young women in peril and ‘tache twirling baddies. In some cases there are also holes in the narrative so big that you could easily lose an elephant down one, but please don’t let that put you off. They are amazingly good fun.

There are more modern examples of Gothic fiction, but they are slightly different type of Gothic to the older works. They do, however, still walk that dangerous edge of the unknown and illicit.

This is a huge subject. A subject that people disagree on passionately. Therefore my best advice to you is to put Gothic Horror or Gothic Romance in to Google and go nuts.

In an effort to explore the genre for the purposes of finishing the current draft of ‘My Book’ I went on an exploration of the word with some coloured pens. The evidence of which is below.

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I don’t expect you to read my writing, but this was great fun to do. It also gave me a sense of focus regarding the sort of overall atmosphere I’m gunning for as I haggle with myself over word choice. It was a good start for Day 1.

 

 

Are there any other ROW80 writer’s out there? How are you getting on?