For anyone else who wants to start/progress/finish writing a book in 2012

(212 Posts)
BsshBossh Fri 06-Jan-12 10:44:03

Sign in here, whether you are published or not smile Perhaps we can keep each other motivated.

I am a first time writer, never been published, have completed two drafts of my novel and am now working on the third - revising/editing.

How about you?

BsshBossh Fri 06-Jan-12 10:47:18

Forgot to add: my genre is contemporary literary fiction.

I have no concrete idea, no definiate genre and just a smattering of thoughts and ideas in my head. I'm in!

minitoot Fri 06-Jan-12 12:18:12

Good luck with it! Hope the writing goes really well.
I have to deliver an 80,000 word MS by March. Better get started then...

FlyingAardvark Fri 06-Jan-12 21:22:01

Signing in hesitantly, I'd love to finally edit and finish something but trying to find the time is impossible at the minute.

I've never been published (never tried to be), I have a few finished novel drafts, a couple I really want to carry on and edit and I'm always starting something new as can never stick to one project at a time.

No particular genre, I like writing, action/adventure style stories and have tried doing fantasy/sci fi more recently which I enjoy.

However I'm a part time employed, part time student, full time mother of two and I'm finding it impossible to find writing time lately, which is frustrating as I love writing as much as possible even if it's just lists of rubbish. I used to write in the evenings but now having to use that time for extra study (and procrastinating on internet). Hopefully I'll get time to have a long sit down and get stuck into something at some point though.

FlyingAardvark Fri 06-Jan-12 21:22:29

oh I'm CassiePalmer from the last thread btw

QueenPodling Sun 08-Jan-12 16:41:23

Ooh, I'll jump in on this one. I've done my first draft and am now editing and finding out I may need another six or seven before it's done!
Current genre is urban fantasy (not PR though)

BsshBossh Sun 08-Jan-12 17:45:52

Yey, a good few of us. I have a full day tomorrow at home but without DD so I am plannng on finishing reading my entire novel and hoping to start actually re-writing/editing this week.

<Draft 2 complete, currently re-reading entire MS in prep for Draft 3>

woollyideas Mon 09-Jan-12 17:06:49

I'm in! Have had a short story published and won a couple of well-respected competitions, but am finding novel writing a different beast entirely.

Have just started second draft, having got terribly stuck on first draft...

I find it very, very difficult to put aside regular writing time because of all the other stuff in my life.

Am very, very impressed with anyone who has finished writing a whole novel!

Kayano Mon 09-Jan-12 17:28:07

I'll join if that is OK! I had started my novel but I never have time! Now I am on leave I have been developing my idea further (characters seemed a bit underdeveloped) and I hope to get it written this year.

I'm scared.

wordfactory Mon 09-Jan-12 19:04:31

I'll pop in and out.

I'm veeeeery demotivated at the moment. I have a draft to get to my ed by the Summer and haven't even started. I feel like sludge. So bored with it all.

I need the DC to go back to school and try to fire myself up a little.

BsshBossh Mon 09-Jan-12 19:16:12

Welcome all! I was completely stuck on my first draft when I started posting on the 2011 thread early last year but found that posting my word counts on here kicked me up the proverbial and soon I was cranking out the words.

No word counts this time round but will post weekly or so with updates on Draft 3 revisions.

wordfactory, as the most experienced and successful novelist on this thread (and perhaps even on MN?) I hope you are able to pop in sometimes. Nothing like a deadline, advance and a contract (and DCs in school) to push you into action.

BsshBossh Mon 09-Jan-12 19:17:41

Kayano are you on mat leave or a career break?

SecretSpi Tue 10-Jan-12 07:36:48

I'll join you, too, although I may be a bit intermittent. My first children's novel is going to be published in April by a small press. It's a retro-style adventure and the whole publishing thing will be a big adventure for me, too!

At some point I need to get my head down and get working on something new and there are three candidates in my head at the moment.

Like most of us on here, I'm time-starved, what with running my own business, being a mum and writing!

Thanks for starting the thread, good luck on the revisions and editing - and good luck to everyone else on here!

GrendelsMum Tue 10-Jan-12 08:19:23

Hello folks! Thanks for starting up this January thread.

Congrats to SecretSpy, and best wishes to WordFactory for your upcoming novel.

I wrote a first draft of my current novel during Nanowrimo in November, and my plan for 2012 is to take it to a place where it can be submitted to agents. It's a fantasy novel set in a dark city with a kick-ass heroine who's probably somewhere on the AS spectrum. I'm working full time (my job also involves a lot of writing, but on the marketing side of things), so I need to get more sorted about finding concentrated spans of time to write and revise. I'm doing a brief amount of time every morning to keep my writing muscles going, but I really need more than that for revision, I think. I'm joining a creative writing course this term, and I really hope that will help me with the revisions. I've written first drafts of two other novels, and in the past revision is what I've found difficult, so I'm hoping hte course will support me with concrete techniques for that, as well as being an incentive to keep going.

wordfactory Tue 10-Jan-12 10:32:49

Finding the time to write is the key factor. It is a hugely time consuming exercise. That said, the more you do it, the faster and better you get, so actually soending time writing now will save more time in the long run...crazy logic, but true.

I have decided to start splittingup my days into sections. A part for the novel, a part for other non-contracted writing projects, a part for my businesses and PR work etc and a part for domestic chores (boo). I'm not sure yet how much time to spend on each, but I think I'm going to be strict otherwise they bleed into one another and one aspect gets thoroughly neglected.

I'm also giving serious consideration to taking up a lecture post I've been offered (only one and half days a week). Not great money, but I really fancy it.

Novelist Tue 10-Jan-12 16:14:18

Hi again, everyone. Sounds like you have all got your writing goals sorted out for the first part of 2012!

I can't remember exactly what mine were in the 2011 thread, but I think I mentioned pitching an e-serial in one of the writing threads. It ended up selling, which is super-exciting. Except now, of course, I have to write it. About 100,000 words in just a few months (faints). It actually all pulled off in a big way with a nice big fuss about movie rights and international rights, which was exciting. And I'll need to hang on to a bit of excitement, because the first half of 2012 is going to be mostly about BICHOK, as they say (Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard).

Anyway, hope you are already getting some words down and (mostly) enjoying the process!

Kayano Tue 10-Jan-12 19:38:25

I've got a months holiday then mat leave. It's my first baby so I'm not committing to any timetable for writing yet grin

wordfactory Wed 11-Jan-12 10:02:33

My DC have gone back to school today.

Now I have to gte on with it...no excuses.

Kayano Wed 11-Jan-12 16:11:16

As an introduction I think we should answer some questions grin

1) is this your first novel?
2) what is your preferred genre?
3) what genre is your current project
4) can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?)
5)when and where do you write
6) any useful tips or advice?

What do you think?

GrendelsMum Wed 11-Jan-12 18:47:01

Would the more experienced writers on this thread be able to give me some concrete tips on revising a first draft? I've re-read it and have begun by noting weaknesses in the plot and areas where people seem to be acting out of character. I'm now planning to re-write those bits. Does this seem sensible?

I also need tips for motivation - Nanowrimo is great for me as I have the daily target and know how well I'm doing. How can I get the same sort of incentive with revising the novel? I think I need to break it down into mini-goals from the big fat goal of writing a publishable novel.

wordfactory Wed 11-Jan-12 19:37:29

KAYANO I will try to answer.

1. I am working on my seventh novel.
2. I write crime/thrillers.
3. See above.
4. It is set in a mental hospital and deals with the murder of a patient by another patient.
5. I have a designated study but write all over the house really. I also write whilst waiting for the DC's school bus to arrive, in the park, anywhere really.
6. My biggest tip is to plan out your novel in advance. I know some poeple hate to work that way, but it is a sure fire route to a. ensuring you actually finish. b. ensuring that the story works before you spend six months writing the damned thing and c. minimising revisions.

wordfactory Wed 11-Jan-12 19:43:48

Grendel revisions are the worst part of the job imvho.

First, you need to ask yourself does your story work as a whole. This is very difficult to gauge as the writer, or I certainly find it so. Get someone esle (a trusted reader )to tell you.

Then ask yourself if your central characters are rounded enough. Do they draw you in? Are they interesting enough to carry the story?

Then read the book scene by scene. Ask yourself what the scene is about. Ask what critical element it brings to your story. If it's just exposition - chuck it out.

Then look at each sequence of scenes and ask yourself if they ebb and flow. Is there ying and yang?

Then last of all look to the writing. I think new writers gte far too hung up on this. Beautiful prose is fab but is worth sweet FA wihtout a stand out story.

BsshBossh Wed 11-Jan-12 19:49:49

Yes, I'm in Kayano:

1) is this your first novel?
I wrote my first novel at university in my early 20s that was taken on by an agent who sold it to Random House but a variety of internal issues at the publishers (including my editor leaving), my agent leaving for mat leave and me moving abroad meant that the novel fell by the wayside. I wrote a second novel that a new agent at the same agency took on but I retrospectively considered it too rubbish even to bother with the asked for rewrite so it became history. Hey, so I was young and foolish grin. So, many many years later - this is my third novel. But I now count it as my first!

2) what is your preferred genre?
Contemporary literary.

3) what genre is your current project
Same as above.

4) can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?)
Don't want to at the moment as several people know it in RL and I want to remain anonymous online.

5)when and where do you write
Mornings when DD is at nursery and sometimes at night after her bedtime but before DH returns home.

6) any useful tips or advice?
I do a full outline before I start writing.

BsshBossh Wed 11-Jan-12 19:51:20

Oh yes, to answer where I write: I use a dedicated study too in our house. DH uses it too wen he's home but as he works FT it's essentially mine smile

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Wed 11-Jan-12 19:51:58

Sorry if this is the wrong place, but can I ask you experienced writers a couple of questions?

I have recently started a blog, I really enjoy it, much more than I ever imagined and think I would like to do some more writing. But how? Where do you start, how do you know if you are any good (i strongly suspect I am not!)

Thanks smile

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Wed 11-Jan-12 19:53:49

Sorry if this is the wrong place, but can I ask you experienced writers a couple of questions?

I have recently started a blog, I really enjoy it, much more than I ever imagined and think I would like to do some more writing. But how? Where do you start, how do you know if you are any good (i strongly suspect I am not!)

Thanks smile

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Wed 11-Jan-12 19:56:58

Bugger, sorry grin

wordfactory Wed 11-Jan-12 19:58:23

dedalus I don't think any of us ever know if we're any good. I still hold my breath each time a sub a WIP to my ed.

Anmd even after all this time I still get told x or y doesn't work and z needs some fixing wink.

What would you like to write? A novel? Short stories? A script? I think you need to decide on your media first.

BsshBossh Wed 11-Jan-12 20:00:21

Grendel, great tips from wordfactory. I'm not an experienced writer but I like to write a fake critique of my WIP as if I am a critic: describing what the book is about - plot, subplot, overall theme etc, giving my thoughts on the writing style, situating it in and differentiating it from other writers in the genre... I also like to write a proper 1 paragraph synopsis of the whole novel after the first draft as it often ends up a little different from the synopsis I wrote at the beginning when I wrote the outline.

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Wed 11-Jan-12 20:01:23

Like another poster, children's adventure, and sort of jilly cooper for teens?

I never said I was an intellectual grin

MmeGuillotine Wed 11-Jan-12 20:59:47

Hello again. My third novel is out next week and I'm working on the fourth and fifth simultaneously, with an agent in the US keeping an eye on me and suggesting revisions and stuff as I write them. I'm really pleased about this as I hate the submitting process but she found me via my blog, liked the sort of thing that I do on there and emailed me to ask to see my work so I missed out all the icky synopsis stuff. smile

I write historical fiction. My first book is about the young Marie Antoinette and the next two are set during the French Revolution. The two that I am working on at the moment are about Charles II's sister, Henrietta 'Minette' Stuart and, for a bit of a change, about the Jack the Ripper murders (I'm a Ripperologist and descended from one of the police men who investigated the original murders back in 1888).

Um, that's it really. Nice to post here again - things got a bit hectic last year when I was finishing off my third book so I wasn't around much. sad

Zoidberg Wed 11-Jan-12 21:08:03

Hi everyone, I am rubbish at returning to threads on a regular basis but I will pop in, I lurked on last year's thread grin

I had my first short story published last year and have a flash piece coming out in a magazine sometime this year. I want to continue writing short stories and entering competitions.

I also wrote a zero draft of a novel in NaNoWriMo and will revisit that some time after it's "cooked" for a bit, see if I can actually take it somewhere. It needs a lot of research (1950s London and contemporary archaeology are in there, both things I know nothing about) so am unsure if I will ever properly complete it, but I think it good for me to rewrite a few times for the experience of writing a novel.

I write on the train to work 3 days a week but am soon to have 6 months off to spend more time with DD so will have a bit less time, the odd day and will try evenings.

Booboostoo Wed 11-Jan-12 21:19:18

Does it have to be a novel? Couldn't it be a boring academic book instead?

If I qualify with a boring academic book then I am on the last chapter, six months delayed due to pregnancy/baby and I can't wait to finish! This last push just feels like the most difficult for some reason but I musn't give up now, I'll never pick it up again.

BsshBossh Wed 11-Jan-12 22:26:09

Welcome everyone!

Boo, an academic book most certainly counts. In a former life I was a lecturer and had papers and a book published.

wordfactory Thu 12-Jan-12 08:24:22

Oh boring academic books certainly count...actually they take more work no? You can't simply make stuff up when ypu're stuck.

I've been offered a PT post as a lecturer in CW and I think one of the ideas behind that is that I will also write a book to help students and writers.

Novelist Thu 12-Jan-12 09:56:23

1) is this your first novel?

It will be my eleventh published novel. Am not going to reveal what number I'm up to if I count the unpublished ones. Would be like asking me my weight and age!

2) what is your preferred genre?

I started out in women's fiction (chick-lit, really) and now mostly write Young Adult. This ms is New Adult (more Twilight-aged).

3) what genre is your current project

New Adult (so, YA with sex, drugs and not rock n roll as it's set in the 1920s, so YA with sex, drugs and flappers).

4) can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?)

Triplets, estranged since birth, are suddenly brought together and forced to compete for their inheritance.

5)when and where do you write

I finally (finally!) have both my kids at school, so I work on school days. And in the evenings. And on the weekends. And pretty much all the time. We're living in the UK for only 18 months, so our living set up isn't ideal -- I have to work in the living room/dining room table at the moment, but usually have a dedicated study.

6) any useful tips or advice?

I was nodding along to everything wordfactory said. I am a firm believer in plotting and strongly think that every writer could get a lot out of learning about three act structure and also about screenwriting (screenwriting has a lot of awesome techniques that also work when writing novels). It's fine if you don't want to plot later on, but you need to learn the rules so you can break them! ends rant

Grendel, a book that really helped me in revising my first few mss was Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (I think it is Rennie & King?). Really great advice. I also think it really helps to go back through the ms and ask yourself why each scene has been included -- are you moving the plot forwards? As for dialogue, reading onto a digital recorder and listening back is great. Really helps to get rid of stilted bits and pieces when you are starting out. I also think ms assessments can be a big help, but only if you can afford them and you need to find someone who is very experienced and used to reading/assessing in the area. I sometimes still use freelance editors to look over my work before I send to my agent/publisher. In the current market, you really need to be sending in your A game.

Dedalus, I guess the best thing to ask yourself would be what could you see yourself writing? What do you like to read (usually this is a good indication of what you might enjoy writing). Sadly, you never think you're any good, or most writers I know don't think they are! I'm waiting on some revision notes now and am wetting myself -- you always expect to get something that says, 'This is absolute #$%*. What were you thinking?!'

ChickensGoMeh Thu 12-Jan-12 10:03:06

Howdy. I'm 25000 words in to my first attempt at getting this bloody story out of my head. It's going...okish. Now, can anyone tell me how to get detailed advice on how one would knacker a car's brakes without being looked at like a potential murderer? Because that tweet did not yield results.

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Thu 12-Jan-12 11:13:11

Thank you all for advice. What do you use for writing, computer wise?

MmeGuillotine Thu 12-Jan-12 11:38:20

I've started using Scrivener - I hated it at first but really like it now as it seems to be keeping me organised. smile

wordfactory Thu 12-Jan-12 11:52:08

novelist dp you ever get bored?

I must admit that I do. I have started branching out a little - radio plays and I love it.

Novelist Thu 12-Jan-12 12:19:46

wordfactory I don't get bored in the sense that I'm always writing the same thing, as I'm having to learn to write in serialised format for this e-serial and have other projects on the side (travel memoir, also a book out in Feb so doing few interviews etc. for that), but the writing itself -- I'm having to pump out a lot of words at the moment. Is always a case of would rather red hot pokers!

I do try to remind myself a lot how lucky I am to still be published at this point, though. It is really tough out there right now. Everything is in such a state of flux.

MmeG I started using Scrivener too and do like it, but gave up!

Chickens know how you feel. Did a lot of research this morning about flappers and bicycles and came up with not very much. God bless YouTube, though. How did writers survive before the internet?

NewPatchesForOld Thu 12-Jan-12 13:49:31

1) This is my first novel
2) Preferred genre is chick lit/women's fiction
3) My novel is as above
4) No synopsis as yet
5) I have a large bedroom, so one side of it is for sleeping, and I have the other side curtained off with voile curtains. This is my writing space, large desk, laptop, books and loads of fairy lights and candles. Very girly.
6) I have NO advice as I have only just started, apart from have notebooks everywhere as you never know when you might hear/think a great line/situation.

I've always had this ambition to write a book. I have had poetry published but never fiction and that's where my passion lies. I always write with humour, always...I can't help it as humour is what has got me through some very dark times. So I promised myself that this year I would do it. So I have just come back from people watching in costa whilst writing notes in one of my many notebooks and tonight I shall start.

Good luck everyone.

Kayano Thu 12-Jan-12 14:42:35

I am starting to write right now blush

Scared. Just writing out my plan today. I have 2 plot ideas in my head so will work today and probably post on here later to ask for advice.

Booboostoo Thu 12-Jan-12 15:24:58

wordfactory I think boring academic book take a lot of hard graft, but proper novels take hard graft and talent! No substitute for talent unfortunately otherwise I would love to be able to write a proper book!

BsshBossh Thu 12-Jan-12 18:20:32

Dedalus I use Word.

wordfactory Fri 13-Jan-12 10:32:27

Yesterday I began writing The New Book.

I wrote the opener (a news report) and the first scene.
Around 1000 words.

Novelist Fri 13-Jan-12 13:26:46

Everyone get the writing done that they were hoping to?

Have you got a big plan already worked out, wordfactory? When do you need to finish by?

8,400 words for me this week. My eyes hurt. Was hoping to get to 9000, but not sure I can be fagged, actually. Going away for the weekend, so will be nice not to think about it for a while!

BsshBossh Fri 13-Jan-12 19:13:31

Re-read the entire 2nd draft this week, making notes. I'm really happy with the plot lines and characerisation but it's clear the writing needs polishing so that's my focus from next week. A chapter at a time, sentence by sentence.

minitoot Fri 13-Jan-12 19:29:09

Grendel's mum, I would suggest that before you revise you first put your novel away in a bottom drawer somewhere for a couple of months. Try and forget about it, and in the meantime write something else, just for fun if you don't feel you have another idea you want to commit to. At the end of that time, get out your novel and re-read it, pretending that you didn't write it - that this is a random novel you picked up in a shop or library. Have a highlighter with you and mark places where it gets boring, but don't write any detailed comments and don't try to stop and work out why it's boring. Just read and highlight. At the end, go back and look through the novel and think about why the bits you highlighted bored you, and then address those problems.
There are different ways of doing this, but the general point is: time away from the novel is time well spent. You need to be able to come to it with fresh eyes.

minitoot Fri 13-Jan-12 19:33:08

Dedalus, there are no rules, just write! smile Get yourself a notebook, set some time aside daily to write (could be on your commute, could be your lunchbreak, could be an hour after work in a cafe, whenever works). If you don't know what to write, just scribble down observations about people and things around you, or write a stream of consciousness, or a diary entry, or ideas for a novel - anything that comes to mind. So long as you're having fun, that's the main thing. And I agree that no-one ever knows if they're good, they just write.

wordfactory Fri 13-Jan-12 19:37:28

Novelist I have an outline now and I know what I'm trying to explore. I'm trying to consider people's cracking points. Why can one person stand x and another y. I also want to explore what happens if someone goes beyiond that point. Are they broken permenantly.

My plan is to write the first draft bu the end of April. Then revsions and taking advice from agent and trusted reader. Then sub to my ed by Summer.

LadySybilDeChocolate Fri 13-Jan-12 19:39:18

Hello smile I used to be called Belledechocchipcookie.

My novel's going well, it should be finished within the next few weeks. Then I have to edit it. No news on my picture books yet though, these publishers are slooooow!

minitoot Fri 13-Jan-12 19:39:40

1) is this your first novel?
No, I have three children's books of my own out and three are coming out this year in partnership with a packager.
2) what is your preferred genre?
Children's fiction, 9 +, adventure/fantasy/alternative worlds.
3) what genre is your current project
YA historical
4) can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?)
Unfortunately not, I'm not allowed to talk about it! I know that sounds ridiculous but it's true. It's kind of a hot topic and another one with a publisher/packager so I'm not in total control.
5)when and where do you write
Anywhere. I've moved too much to be picky.
6) any useful tips or advice?
See above - time is a writer's friend, and write what you enjoy smile

minitoot Fri 13-Jan-12 19:40:01

Oh, and good luck everyone with your books!

LadySybilDeChocolate Fri 13-Jan-12 19:49:35

1) is this your first novel?
Yes.
2) what is your preferred genre?
Children's fiction, 9 +, adventure/fantasy/alternative worlds.
3) what genre is your current project
9+ fantasy
4) can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?)
Boy and Phoenix Vs evil wizard.
5)when and where do you write
Anywhere and everywhere. At home mainly though.
6) any useful tips or advice?
Write the last chapter first.

BsshBossh Fri 13-Jan-12 20:11:05

Hi belle, sorry Lady smile

LadySybilDeChocolate Fri 13-Jan-12 20:28:25

You can call me belle. How are you? smile

BsshBossh Fri 13-Jan-12 21:06:22

Very well Lady. Still plugging away at the book but am now on third proper/full draft so progress smile

LadySybilDeChocolate Fri 13-Jan-12 21:07:40

That's really good. Keep at it!! smile

GrendelsMum Mon 16-Jan-12 08:46:04

Hi all,

Thanks very much for the helpful comments. I'll buy that book and get working on it. I'm also going to another round of advanced creative writing classes as from tomorrow, so I'll see how that goes. I'm also going to make a clear list of 'what I have to do to get draft 2 finished', which I can then work through and tick off, which should help keep me motivated!

wordfactory Mon 16-Jan-12 12:35:49

Onwards and upwards mes amis grin.

Another 1000 words down.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 18-Jan-12 10:22:58

Hi all, been lurking on this thread.

I'm about 15000 words into my first draft. Never been published apart from a couple of short stories which in retrospect seem to have come out in finished form by accident. Learning to structure an entire novel is a whole different ballgame; in particular I have never done any serious rewriting before and have never seriously put my mind to LEARNING to write. In some ways my goals for this year are more to do with learning to revise and generally upping my game, than getting to the end of something - in the past I have managed to get a lot of words onto the page (2 unpublished novels) but nothing even approaching the quality it needs to be. Have already found some of the advice on here useful (thank you Wordfactory!)

Some similarities with BsshBossh's situation in that I had a publisher interested in something I was doing many years ago but nothing came of it and I am now getting serious again.

In answer to Kayano's questions:
1) Yes this is my first
2) YA. Because of my previous career and other experience I feel I ought to be doing YA historical....
3) ..... and this is YA, but set 30 or 40 years in the future.
4) My heroine is a teenage poacher who gets into terrorism when her geeky brother is headhunted by bankers and she discovers the truth about the division between the rich and the poor.
5) We have a very small study in the loft conversion. I write when older kids are at school and youngest is at preschool (I am a SAHM). I am lucky to have a dh who thinks spending a whole bunch of money on preschool purely so I can write is a good use of money and also, fortunately, the village preschool is very cheap.
6) I am too inexperienced to feel I should be handing out tips, but I have always liked Dorothea Brande's advice that the first thing you have to do is to organise your life so that you can write.
The second bit of advice that is really working for me at the moment is something I read on a YA author's website recently (I think it was Tim Bowler) - he said he sits down and writes his words every day whether he is in the mood or not, and that whether or not he is in the mood doesn't seem to make much difference to the quality of the words.

I am actually quite angry with all the talented people (all men, actually) that I knew when I was at university who were publishing brilliant short stories as undergraduates but never went anywhere with their writing because they were 'waiting for inspiration'. One of my schoolfriends is now a successful writer and she showed no signs of writing at all at school, but after university she got a job in a bookshop then did an MA in children's fiction in her spare time and, in short, got on with it!
So I am trying to get on with it. And had better do so now. smile

Hope everyone else's writing is going well and look forward to chatting some more.

LuluMa Wed 18-Jan-12 11:07:17

Oh am tempted! I have been writing a blog (in French) since 2010 (birth of my second son) . I have always liked writing and my teachers used to think I wasn't bad at it (I won a small local poetry competition in the South of France aged 12). Now... I'd love to have a go at writing a short novel but am SCARED!! (I am a big fan of Nancy Huston and that's the style am going for - psychological,introspective ). I stumbled across this website www.writersandartists.co.uk
Any good? Any other advice on how to make the jump?

wordfactory Wed 18-Jan-12 11:17:17

I have written the opener (can't call it an epilogue as it's a news report), and the first four scenes intrducing my MCs and the set up. About 4,000 words.

I was all set to write the next scene which is a sub plot and a completely different narrative strand from the main one and...I've decided it's shit. I need another one. Thing is I haven't got one. Yet.

Should I wait until somehting occurs or just leave a blank and plough on with the main narrative, returning when I have inspiration? WWYD?

TunipTheVegemal Wed 18-Jan-12 11:25:49

plough on.
Because it sounds like you haven't really got into the swing of this book yet and I would guess that once you are in the swing of it you'll be in a better position to come up with the new subplot.

<disclaimer: I know nothing!!>

Novelist Wed 18-Jan-12 14:08:27

I'd do the opposite and plan until it made sense, then start writing again. I started planning a lot more around book two, when I realised I was wasting a lot of time moving huge chunks of writing around in my mss, re-writing etc.. I do much better with a strong plan now and don't re-write much at all.

I guess it all depends how into plans you are! Could you write other bits of the story while you think about it? Or do you have to write start to finish (I do).

Hi to Tunip and LuluMa! LuluMa, what do you think you'd like to write?

wordfactory Wed 18-Jan-12 14:15:00

I could easily write the main storyline, leaving spaces where the second narrative fits (I have chosen my structure) as I have a detailed plan for the main narrative.

I did have a detailed plan for the second narrative too...but it's pants in retrospect.

I've sort of got a new idea now. I can see my second narrative character. I can hear her voice too. But I have no plot for her yet, or any idea how the two narratives wille ventually merge. Hmmmm...

Novelist Wed 18-Jan-12 16:23:59

It really is like a jigsaw puzzle sometimes, isn't it?

Trying to finish off writing the first draft of episode three before we go to Dublin for the weekend. 3000 words yesterday, 2200 so far today. Just have to pull another 3000 out of my hat before tomorrow night. Hopefully will pull it off. Would be nice to go away and not be in the middle of an episode. Also, would see me halfway through, which would be something!

LuluMa Thu 19-Jan-12 11:24:25

Hello again Novelist! Sounds like you've been busy! I'd love to write a short novel where the same event is described/narrated by different members of a family and how each character react/relate to the events in a very different way. I am thonking one chapter per character but that's how far as I got with my brainstorming!!!

BsshBossh Thu 19-Jan-12 11:25:56

Grrrr, well unlike some of you productive lot, I have done nothing on my draft 3 this week. Simple laziness/procrastination. Well, it can only get better from here, can't it <hopeful emoticon>. No opportunities for writing this week and weekend as sole charge of DD whilst DH is on business trip and have other things to do after her bedtime. But there's always next week - fresh start, and all that - isn't there? <again with the hopeful emoticon>.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 19-Jan-12 11:29:49

LuluMa, that sounds fun, and it also sounds like a really good way to develop skills like writing in different voices.

wordfactory Thu 19-Jan-12 12:34:56

Right. I've settled on a new second narrative and really have my character's voice nailed (I write from very close POV).

Up to 5,000 words today.

FaneFeyre Thu 19-Jan-12 15:47:01

Hello. Been lurking and I'd like to join if I may?

I've been published a little bit (individual short stories & essays), but not half as much as I'd like, 3 years on from a Master's in CW and a year on from receiving a grant to work on a collection of short stories. I find that I really struggle with self-confidence and get easily knocked back in the face of (what can feel like never-ending) rejection....SO - I am hoping that 2012 will be the year I can just toughen up, get out of my own way, and get this short fiction collection together!

Um... I am also 39 weeks' pregnant with my first baby, so I am not expecting miracles. grin

Best of luck, everyone.

SecretSpi Sat 21-Jan-12 17:17:42

OK, my answers to Kayano's questions.

1. First novel?
No, I have three unpublished ones that will remain that way and one to be published by a small independent press in April - yipppeee!
2. Preferred genre?
Children's 9-12, 11+
3. Genre of current project?
It'll either be another one in the 9-12 adventure series OR a historical mystery for 11+
4. Brief synopsis?
A Boy's Own Adventure for the 21st Century Boy (or girl...)
Tom's Midnight Garden meets Biggles
5. When and where do I write?
I'm self-employed so mainly in my home office, but have been known to write on trains, planes etc.
6. Useful tips or advice?
Be über-persistent. Learn to take criticism. Keep believing in yourself.
....all easy enough to say, I know.....

TunipTheVegemal Mon 23-Jan-12 12:06:10

hello all.
I am grumpy today. Monday is the day when I have most clear space for writing so I am getting down to it, but for some reason it doesn't seem to be moving very fast - I did a word count thinking I'd have done about 2000 words this morning and it turned out it was only 650 shock
And since the first thing I did today was to scrap 740 words from last week, I appear to have written minus 90 words so far this morning!
Pah!

Hope the rest of you are doing better!

wordfactory Mon 23-Jan-12 12:31:21

LOL tunip.

Checking the word count is the writerly eqivalent of checking the calorie counter on an exercise bike no?

TunipTheVegemal Mon 23-Jan-12 14:05:03

So it would seem grin

Novelist Mon 23-Jan-12 15:43:42

grin so true! We should put a towel over the screen like I've seen people do at the gym, but something tells me that wouldn't work too well!

dontgobacktorockville Tue 24-Jan-12 17:16:41

Hi there,
Can I join? I also lurked last year but this year I'm trying to go for it, with my writing.

1: Yes, this is my first novel. I fiddled around with short stories over the years; had one shortlisted in a competition, and one published in an anthology. But I realised last year what I really want to do is write a novel - after all, I read far more novels than short stories.

2. Preferred genre: the novel I'm writing is YA

3. as above.

4. Plot synopsis - I'm in a lovely writing group who know what I'm writing about, so I'm going to try and preserve my anonymity.

5. When/where do you write? Mornings when ds at nursery/dd at school. I'd like to write in the evening too, but motivation is sorely lacking then, plus dd goes to bed quite late. Sounds a bit weird, but my preferred location to write in is in bed. If I sit at a desk I start to get too stressed about producing lots of words. I find it easier to 'trick' myself into writing, pretend I'm just messing round, then I start to get into it and enjoy it.

6. Useful tips? Read lots and lots in the genre you're interested in. I find my writing suffers if I'm not reading much. I have a few YA books that I continually refer too - for inspiration and to remind me what I'm trying to do.

I'm 20,000 words into first draft, I'd really like to write substantially more this year - finish draft, and re-write.

Sorry that was really long. But hello everyone.

FlyingAardvark Tue 24-Jan-12 17:47:23

Well I'm back. After an awful week which ended in the most awful shift at work where I came home and cried for half an hour. Again, I know the only thing I've ever really really wanted to do in life is write books, so I don't want to put it off for another three years for work and uni, the thought of not being able to write anything for that long is depressing, so I'm going to try an dbe more organised and make time for writing around everything else.
I do have a draft from nanowrimo I want to edit, but I want to change parts of the story too so I' putting that on th backburner for a bit.
I'll probably start on another draft (I have a couple fo ideas in mind) work on that for 3 months, when my current uni course ends then I came start on editing one fo the drafts I already have.
My goal is that at the end of this year I can have one story that I can called finished and one or two more that I can continue to work on.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 25-Jan-12 16:51:03

Dontgobacktorockville - I agree about reading in the genre (are there people who don't do this?). Apart from anything else YA has come a long way since we were reading it in our teens. I write YA because I love reading it and there are so many inspirational writers out there, but sometimes it terrifies me because the bar is so high now in terms of wit, pace, originality and stylish writing. I am trying to seek out and read the very best I can in order to try and write the best I can myself but sometimes I deliberately read things that I know aren't going to be as good just for reassurance!

(I'm into Mal Peet at the moment - Life: An Exploded Diagram was so good I'm reading the football ones now, and they are fantastic.)

What are your particular YA inspirations?

FlyingAardvark - hope you're having a better week this week.

OneCabbageTree Thu 26-Jan-12 07:17:43

Hello! I'd like to join too if that's OK. After years of starting projects, I really want 2012 to be the year that I finish a novel.

1) is this your first novel? Yes, although I have written one novella. It was for a friend and a comedy that is a bit silly, though, so I haven't sent it to any publishers or anything yet. I have started 4 novels (have about 5,000 words on each), but the one I am writing now is the first that I have made real progress on ( so far 40,000 words and a clear idea of what I want to happen)

2) what is your preferred genre? I will read anything as long as it's good and not too pretentious! Including genre fiction, although not such a big fan of sci-fi as a rule.

3) what genre is your current project That halfway house between chick lit and women's lit - you know the type, not really fluffy fiction as deals with some darker themes, but the type of book that can still end up with shoes put on the front cover if the publisher decides to market the book in that way! I'd love to write like Emily Barr or Elizabeth Noble for example.

4) can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?) It's about a woman coming to terms with the death of her sister

5)when and where do you write: At my dining room table when my baby is asleep

6) any useful tips or advice? Don't tell anyone how you want the book to end or what you want to happen. That way, you have to write it, or else no-one will ever know.

dontgobacktorockville Thu 26-Jan-12 13:56:29

Tunip
Yes, I agree the best YA novels I've read are very tightly plotted, witty and original. In fact, just writing that makes me feel a bit scared about what I've taken on!

My inspirations: Like you, I've enjoyed Mal Peet. I also loved Siobhan Dowd's novels (really, my favourite YA work - I'm not really into visions of dystopia, which many YA novels seem to do). Jenny Downham. I guess David Almond is aimed at younger readers too, but his novels are breathtaking. What about you?

TunipTheVegemal Fri 27-Jan-12 22:45:50

I haven't read any Siobhan Dowd yet though 'A Swift Pure Cry' is on my 'to read' pile.

I love Meg Rosoff. I don't know exactly how she does what she does - deceptive simplicity I think - but her books have an intensity and unexpectedness which I really admire. You never know what she's going to write about next.

I've recently been reading the 'Uglies' trilogy by Scott Westerfeld and was bowled over by that, though I am not into sci-fi generally. Probably I'm more at the realist end of things - I like Tim Bowler.

I am always looking for good historical YA to read. There is a lot that is bloody good EXCEPT that the heroine is always a witch with actual magic powers. I can see why I would want to read about witches if I was a teenage girl but it feels like such a cop-out.

Anyway, just done another thousand words - dh should get stuck on the train more often.... smile

TunipTheVegemal Mon 30-Jan-12 16:45:55

Hello everyone.

Anyone got a juicy wordcount to report?

Mine's going better this week. I've been enjoying watching characters grow more 3-dimensional and go in directions I wasn't quite expecting. (There is one I had pictured as a sort of school bully type who is turning out surprisingly likeable, which may mean I need to kill him <evil laugh>, and the hero's girlfriend is starting to annoy me because she is just too naive and privileged.)

Hope everyone's doing some good writing.

BsshBossh Tue 31-Jan-12 13:34:18

Have had a good week or so of revising my novel. Am currently re-working the all-important first three chapters so they better establish the novel's overarching themes for each character. Very happy with my plot and sub-plots at the moment though so that's a relief.

JollyNiceAllRound Tue 31-Jan-12 13:46:04

May I join in please? Thinking of pretending there's a FebNaNoWriMo . . .

Have been on some of these threads under a different guise (hello Belle/Lady!), but 2012 really needs to be the year I get cracking . . .

TunipTheVegemal Tue 31-Jan-12 17:50:52

Welcome JollyNiceAllRound.
Kayano posted some questions near the start of the thread which a lot of us have answered (not that you have to of course).

BsshBossh - glad your revisions are going well.
I find it really helpful when people post about the process of revision they are going through. Sooner or later I will be revising my draft and I have never seriously revised a novel; I think I'm learning a lot from hearing about what it's like to do, the questions you ask yourself, the ups and downs etc.

JollyNiceAllRound Tue 31-Jan-12 17:56:56

Hi Tunip - you're right, I missed the membership questionnaire!

1) is this your first novel?

sort of . . . no . . . yes . . . I have co-written four but they weren't what I want to do at all, and it was a few years ago, so, in my mind, it's my first! I'm a ghost writer so have done a lot of non-fiction too but finally need to get round to doing my own after threatening it for the past 3 years.

2) what is your preferred genre?

to read - anything; to write - anything (although I don't think I could do romantic or sci-fi/fantasy)

3) what genre is your current project

crime

4) can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?)

oooh no, I'd rather not - I'm very superstitious about things like that!

5)when and where do you write:

kitchen when everyone is at school, the dog has been walked, the toilet has been cleaned, I've eaten my own weight in chocolate, and a million other distractions have been undertaken . . . .

6) any useful tips or advice?

don't pretend that laziness is writer's block or you'll never get out of it . . . . I know I'm bone idle.

dontgobacktorockville Wed 01-Feb-12 11:08:29

Hi all,
I've found it hard to get started this week - this is the first day I've had any writing time, and I feel like I've lost my thread. So, wondering, what do you do when you're finding a scene hard to write?
I've just written about 1000 words of nothing this morning, can't get into the scene at all. Should I just start another? Come back to it, and hope in the meantime my sub-conscious will have tackled it?

BsshBossh Wed 01-Feb-12 11:41:21

I jump to another scene.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 02-Feb-12 14:12:46

Did you find your thread at all Rockville?
It is really hard when you've been away from it for a long time.

I have a question for anyone that's finished a novel - what proportion of the total time did you spend revising it? How many drafts did it take?

GrendelsMum Fri 03-Feb-12 08:08:00

Hi folks

Thanks again for the book recommendation - that was exactly what I needed, and it's made a big difference. I read out my work to my writing group for the first time this week - a big incentive to knuckle down and edit the opening scene, and they were all very positive about it, and had a lot of useful suggestions. And DH is contributing to the Great Novel by buying me a new laptop before this one falls apart.

I've now got a list of plot points that need changing / inserting, and a list of new scenes that need to be written, and I'm working through that - it's something concrete that I can work on and tick off, which I find helpful. I had a bit of time off work to take, and that's been good as well.

Right, back to trying to insert a reference to a secret conspiracy in a meeting of a few folks at a bar...

GrendelsMum Fri 03-Feb-12 08:08:30

p.s. also makes a big difference to see this thread growing and progressing with so many published and aspiring writers!

BsshBossh Fri 03-Feb-12 09:34:01

Yey GrendelsMum smile I'm in forward motion with the revision of my novel now. I love it when motivation kicks in. Now I have to stop wasting free time on Mumsnet - it's such a time suck. The key thing for me is to stop responding to threads (apart from this one) every day as I'm forever checking Threads I'm On. Gah!

FlyingAardvark Fri 03-Feb-12 11:05:39

I've done just over 2000 words, I did nearly delete it all at 1000 words but have stuck with it and first chapter is done roughly. Feeling happier with it now.
I didn't answer Kayano's questions before.
1) is this your first novel?
Yes, sort of, I've been writing for years but never plucked up courage to try and get published, feeling more confident in writing last couple of years but never been happy with a finished product so have a few drafts lying around that can be worked on.
2) what is your preferred genre?
I like doing things with alternative societies, fantasy etc. I guess I write mainly YA fiction.
3) what genre is your current project
Not sure whether it's going to be a future society or just an alternative society, I keep changing my mind!
4) can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?)
No, not really, except it's about people living in segregated communities and very class orientated society. But the actual storyline will probably change as I write.
5)when and where do you write
Sitting on a sofa in my living room with blanket over knee and on laptop, usually in evening but if I'm not working and no major studying then will do some in daytime when kids at school. I've tried doing it at desk in quieter room but seem to do better whem sitting comfy and having Dh make me cups of tea
6) any useful tips or advice?
The advice that's worked best for me was to get the first draft done and work on any editing after. I used to edit as I go and would give up quite quickly as wasn't as fun. It's much better editing once you have your story all written down.

BsshBossh Fri 03-Feb-12 20:22:14

Oh my word, I let DH look over my revisions for the first time ever and he came out with some very insightful and specific comments. I don't know why I am surprised: he's a keen reader of contemporary fiction (my genre) but I guess I thought it would be strange having him comment on my work. Not at all! I think I may have found myself a beta reader.

GrendelsMum Fri 03-Feb-12 20:34:22

Oh, that's great! I showed my DH my novel and he laughed hysterically at one sentence and demanded to know what was wrong with the characters.

TunipTheVegemal Fri 03-Feb-12 21:56:36

That's really handy BsshBossh!
My dh isn't allowed anywhere near mine, because it would all end in tears. Fortunately he's too scared to read it in case he doesn't like it.

BsshBossh Sat 04-Feb-12 13:27:55

The actual storyline isn't his thing at all but he's able to step back from that and constructively comment on everything else plus the "big picture". I'll keep passing him a few chapters as I revise them and see how we get on together grin.

TunipTheVegemal Sat 04-Feb-12 21:07:03

It's great that he can step back from what he doesn't like.
I learnt last time round that it is so hard to find people who are really good at reading drafts. I have many intelligent, educated, etc, friends, many of whom have literature degrees or have published non-fiction, but no RL novelist friends. I do, however, have a playwright friend and the advice she gave me on my draft was just amazing - all I'd ever had up to that point was 'It's really good [they are my friends, they were not going to tell me it was rubbish], I think there's a typo on p.47' and she told me some fundamental things that made me see the whole thing differently. Constructive feedback is like gold dust IMO.

anyhow I wanted to post in a celebratory manner because I've got to 30 000 words, which I thought was the halfway point (though I'm not halfway through the plot) smile

GrendelsMum Mon 13-Feb-12 19:31:03

Just checking in to say I'm still going...

BsshBossh Tue 14-Feb-12 20:37:43

Checking in, too, to say I'm not still going: have been laid low by the flu for a week plus it's DD's half term. Hopefully will resume next week.

allbie Sun 19-Feb-12 15:57:32

68,000 words in! On chapter 28....If only I had more time to write! How does everyone else do it? Hope everyone else is clocking up the word count. Good luck to you all!

Novelist Sun 19-Feb-12 21:18:09

Sounds like everyone's been knocked out with sickness/school holidays. Managed to get 3000 words done on episode four before a week in Norway. Hoping to get the first draft of the 18,000 word or so episode done by Friday 2 March. Fingers crossed!

wordfactory Mon 20-Feb-12 16:29:54

Just checking in.
I've been in the States meeting my US publisher and doing some events for them. DH also had meetings so we took the DC and swapped about.
Cheeky way to get free air fares and accommodation wink.

Am now determined to get back into the WIP and fnish the first draft by Easter.

tardisjumper Fri 24-Feb-12 09:39:52

Hello all. I have just started a novel after failing to figure out how my story would work as a radio play. It's a bit epic. I write for a living as a journo and have written quite a few short stories in the past though not had anything published.

I am planning the plot, and the characters at the moment. How much do you normally do in planning and how do you do it?

tardisjumper Fri 24-Feb-12 09:53:09

oh and my membership questions:

1) Is this your first novel? Yes, though I do write for a living and have a diploma in journalism.
2) what is your preferred genre? To read, I would say angry feminism or plays!
3) What is the genre of your novel? It's hard to say, but ultimately it is a distopic novel set in the near future.
4)can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?)
An academic gets caught up in a global plan to implement bioengineering to reverse global warming. Civil unrest and a kidnap ensue....
5) When and where do you write?
I plan on the train and write at lunch and infront of the TV in the evenings (v bad i know!)
6) any useful tips or advice?
Nope. Sorry!

Novelist Sun 26-Feb-12 21:54:59

Hi Tardisjumper, your ms sounds like exciting stuff! Was never a dystopian fan and then I read the Hunger Games, which totally blew my mind! Want to read Matched next.

Your trip sounds exciting, Wordfactory. Hope you got a bit of shopping in! I have to go in to every Sephora store I see in NYC, which always holds things up a bit...

Seem to have made my writing goals for this week. 12,000 down, 6,000 to go for the coming week. Will be slowed down slightly as I have a book out in the US on Tuesday (have been waiting forever for this one -- sold it over 18 months ago!). Of course, just as I thought I was ahead (am finishing up episode four of the six I'm writing), I also got slammed with the edits for the first three episodes. That's how it goes!

LadySybilDeChocolate Thu 01-Mar-12 18:46:31

Just checking in. I'm on the penultimate chapter, it's 38k at the moment. I had an email back from an agent I've been stalking submitting to, it's looking good. She's not signed me yet but is going to make some notes on one of my manuscripts and send it back to me as she's had a few publishers asking about books containing similar themes!

I hope you're all well. Keep at it!

FlyingAardvark Thu 01-Mar-12 22:35:09

I'm finally getting a chance to check in again, and have changed my plans yet again. It just seemed daft starting another draft when I have so little time at the minute. So I've gone back to my nano draft which I really enjoyed doing, it does need a lot of work but the bones of it are there and I have an ending.
So I'm doing all the research I need to do on it before doing a second more complete draft.
I only have 2 more essays and an exam left on this course at uni and I'm free from mid June, so will probably start the second draft then and get it down over the summer.
Glad to see lots of you still going!

LadySybilDeChocolate Sun 04-Mar-12 19:25:04

I've finished it!! I just need to go through the last half and edit it. 42,679 of loveliness! grin

BsshBossh Mon 05-Mar-12 08:42:36

Checking in. Been knocked out by recurrent colds and tummy bugs and also looking after DD when she's been poorly. Revision of WIP resumes this week, though still have a hacking cough sad

MysteriousHamster Mon 05-Mar-12 11:02:37

1) is this your first novel? No, I've completed a couple before this though they are destined to remain unpublished.
2) what is your preferred genre? I've largely written across SF/F before.
3) what genre is your current project - Urban fantasy
4) can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?). The sky splits open, pouring magic onto Ada and making her a witch. Can she learn to control her skills and heal her sister?
5)when and where do you write: Evenings, when I get a chance. Trying to make a point of sitting at my desk whenever I have free time, but I'm in editing mode now, which I tend to find slower going than writing a first draft.
6) any useful tips or advice? It's okay if the first draft is crap.

MysteriousHamster Mon 05-Mar-12 11:03:58

I'm here (see questionnaire thingy above) still, still tinkering with my WIP. I'm 60k in but need to add a bit of plot into some later chapters which should take it up to 80k+. Desperate to get it done and out there.

allbie Tue 06-Mar-12 14:52:10

Hi all. Advice please. Is it best to have novel complete before dipping toes into water? I'm nearly there but not quite; it's children's fantasy. And direct to publisher or try for agent? Thanks!

BsshBossh Tue 06-Mar-12 15:22:53

Hi allbie, I'm not a published author and I am sure far more experienced writers on this thread will come along shortly to give more informed advice but here's my two cents: If you have never been published and have had no track record with an editor or agent then I would complete the book first - this will prove to a publisher or agent that you can write a full book (loads of people have good ideas, start something then never finish - myself included!). Secondly I would go with an agent first, unless you have good contacts in the publishing industry - and choose your agent well (someone with experience of pushing the types of books you write).

GrendelsMum Wed 07-Mar-12 10:45:33

Just checking in! It's going well this week, after a sticky patch last month when I was really struggling with introducing a new character. Having joined a creative writing class has worked out very well to keep me motivated - great to get regular feedback, and to know that I have to have something to share with the rest of the group!

I'm hoping to have finished my second draft by the end of March - so far I'm on track, as I'm about 1/3 of the way through.

MysteriousHamster Wed 07-Mar-12 10:59:38

Hi allbie,

Generally (you occasionally read about exceptions), agents and publishers will not be interested unless you have a full book. They need to know you can bring the story to a satisfying conclusion. Lots of books start well and end badly, after all.

You can of course start submitting a partial manuscript (they usually want to see the first three chaps in the first instance), and just act as if you have completed it - you can write while waiting for replies. However most people don't recommend this. A) How you end a book often ties into the beginning and you might find yourself revising bits and B) what if they reply quickly and want to see it all? Nothing worse than having to finish under pressure!

Most of the time you are best off going to an agent first, because once you've done the round of publishers, you can't then go to agents, whereas if you exhaust agents there may still be some publishers you can try direct - though fewer of them are taking unsolicited manuscripts these days.

Am not published but worked for a publisher aeons ago.

BsshBossh Wed 07-Mar-12 11:19:55

I'm on a roll again. I'm putting in the hours on revising my novel - even taking the laptop to DD's gym class so I can edit in the cafe during the hour she's doing cartwheels and balancing on the beam smile

BsshBossh Wed 07-Mar-12 11:20:41

And making more of an effort to write after her bedtime before DH returns home. Before I was using this time to surf online, read or watch TV.

tardisjumper Wed 07-Mar-12 22:22:39

I am way behind you lot. I finsihed all the planning last week and had a week of down time. I have written 700 words today and it's not as bad as I thought. I am hopeing to have 6,000 words in tip tip shape and ready to submit to the Stylist competition in July.

GrendelsMum Thu 08-Mar-12 08:46:35

Oh, good for you, Bssshbosh! I took mine into the office and did a little work on it at lunchtime in a supposedly quiet location (complete with teacher and school group pointing at me and saying "Sssshhhh! That lady's studying.")

allbie Thu 08-Mar-12 10:19:44

Thanks Bsssh and MysteriousH, good advice. One of my characters died and I cried! Nuts or what?! I didn't realise how linked I'd become to the characters...her death was a surprise even to me! Does that make sense to anyone?

LadySybilDeChocolate Thu 08-Mar-12 10:29:00

Yup. Sounds as though you went with the flow of the story. smile I do that. I start with a rough idea of where I want it to go and just sit and write.

allbie Thu 08-Mar-12 14:54:47

You are so right, Lady! I only have a rough idea. The story really writes itself, nice to know that's how it is for you too!

LadySybilDeChocolate Thu 08-Mar-12 14:56:03

I've just finished mine (bar an edit). I've read through it and there's a few parts that I can't remember writing. blush

FlyingAardvark Thu 08-Mar-12 17:35:02

Allbie I once wrote a story where a character was talking about her own death and I had to keep pausing while writing it to have a good sob.

I'm writing whenever I have a spare moment at the minute, I've always wrote when I've had a couple of hours spare before so getting used to doing 5-10 minutes here and there is a slow process but I've made quite a bit of progress doing this.

allbie Fri 09-Mar-12 10:43:09

Flying, that's how I have to write too...short bursts when I can but I have found it means I'm productive and can revisit and edit on the go. It's really emotional at times but I've really scared myself too with certain characters..so much so that I've had to check the house! Ha! Lady, to have finished must be fantastic although do you feel a loss or are you onto the next?

LadySybilDeChocolate Fri 09-Mar-12 10:45:45

I'm just going through it at the moment. I enjoyed writing it so it's sad that it's finished. There's always the sequal though. grin

BsshBossh Mon 12-Mar-12 17:18:37

Checking in again. Revision going well - managing to work on it each day (except for weekends) by working after DD's bedtime. Need to make the most of her early bedtimes before she gets older! Nearly halfway through and can see it will need another (4th) re-edit but hopefully that will go even quicker.

Lady, yippee, you've finished!

LadySybilDeChocolate Mon 12-Mar-12 18:14:07

I feel quite sad really, a little lost without doing something to it. blush

GrendelsMum Mon 12-Mar-12 20:29:20

Checking in! I'm determined to finish the second draft this month (I've been letting it drift since November) - there are quite a lot of extra scenes that need writing, plus existing scenes that need editing to fit into the correct places. I'm trying to keep myself motivated by thinking of it as a second Nanowrimo, with chapter targets to meet each day. I've even done myself a little Nanowrimo style graph so I can look at it and feel it's getting somewhere!

GrendelsMum Tue 20-Mar-12 08:12:54

Come on, you lot? No-one else still plodding away at their novel in March?
I need you all to keep me motivated.

I'm still on track to finish my second draft revision by the end of March, although I'm having intermittant worries that the plot / motivation arc isn't quite right (the sort of 'but why does she do that?' feeling). Still, I printed off the last few chapters and read them over last night, and it seems to be okay, or rather it will be okay with polishing.

However, if this goes well, then I'll be ready to start work polishing the writing in April, and who knows, maybe start touting it to agents by summer.

Novelist Thu 22-Mar-12 06:35:08

Hi GrendelsMum! I'm still plodding away. Have finished episode five of six (almost there, whee!) and am editing today. Hope to get it to my editor tomorrow. I keep remembering the oddest little bits and pieces to change throughout the whole series and have notes all over the house!

How are you approaching the editing? One chapter at a time, or doing huge read throughs for specific things?

GrendelsMum Thu 22-Mar-12 15:07:53

Hi Novelist! I'm doing a big read through for plot and motivation at the moment, writing new scenes where necessary, and changing existing scenes. It all seems to be hanging together pretty well at the moment, despite occasional worries. Then when I'm done on plot (at the end of this month, hooray!), I'll go back and work through for style. I've started checking out what agents are asking for as well, although that's a little while off.

BsshBossh Fri 30-Mar-12 22:04:19

I'm still here but Easter holidays have begun so no work for 2 weeks. I could work evenings I suppose but won't as I am in holiday mode too grin.

GrendelsMum Sat 31-Mar-12 20:49:49

Triumph! That's the second draft finished and printed out ready to scribble all over in despair

BsshBossh Mon 02-Apr-12 20:05:34

Well done GrendelsMum!

GrendelsMum Mon 02-Apr-12 21:02:51

thanks very much, Bsshbosshh! Enjoy your holidays and hope you return to it refreshed after the break.

Novelist Thu 05-Apr-12 19:04:46

Congrats, Grendelsmum! In Berlin on hols and secretly itching to get back to episode six. I must be mad!

amillionyears Thu 05-Apr-12 19:27:39

Can I join the group please? Only now discovered this thread. Trouble is , I am like booboostoo on page 2, in that it is a boring acedemic book , sort of.

Never done anything like this before. I write stuff down in books, as my memory went out of the window and never returned after I started having kids. Sort of realised one day that some of it could be made into a book[assuming somebody takes it on].

I am so not knowing what I am doing, that I assumed that all writers loved writing at all times!
I have been bemused at myself that I only do 10 minutes a day, and dont really want to do more than that at any one time.

Sorry to intrude if i should wait for another thread to start in another 6 months?

GrendelsMum Wed 11-Apr-12 08:23:31

Welcome, AMillionYears.

I've returned to my novel after the Easter break (my DH kindly acted as beta reader), to discover that the first half is really very slow and episodic. I'm not sure that you'd want to keep reading after chapter 3 at the moment. So I'm revising the plot again to try to get that sense of pace and peril in earlier.

On the plus side, some of it's really pretty good. I'm quite chuffed with the quality of the writing, the scene setting and so on. It's just that there's a heck of a lot of scene setting and people wandering round, and not nearly enough of people having a strong motivation to get a move on.

DH is a bit too tactful as a beta reader - took him a while to just come out and say 'the first half is too slow'.

ninah Wed 11-Apr-12 12:14:16

I suffering from flagging beginnings too. The best advice I ever had it cut out the padding and start where the action does. Make chapter 4 your first chapter and see how that reads. No one wants to hang around watching the mist slowly uncurl from the hills etc etc however poetic!

ninah Wed 11-Apr-12 12:15:11

oops misread that, you are happy with the first bit. that's trickier!

LadySybilDeChocolate Wed 11-Apr-12 23:20:04

I've ditched the first 2 chapters (from the first version) and I don't regret it. Key is to just jump in there, don't build up. Seems to work most of the time. Drip feed information to build up the character throughout all of the book.

Hi ninah smile

GrendelsMum Thu 12-Apr-12 13:16:08

Thanks very much - all interesting ideas! I had a cracker of an opening, but even I got bored between pages 100 and 200, although it perks up substantially at page 200.

The problem's really motivation rather than plot - they keep meandering round doing these things, but without any particularly strong reason for it, and there's no sense that it matters whether they do anything or not. I think all they need is a better motivation in chapter 3, and it should give it more of a sense of peril.

Atreegrowsinbrooklyn Thu 12-Apr-12 13:24:36

First book- Non fiction looking at food/kitchen culture amongst ex pats. I love the work of The Kitchen Sister's in the USA (On NPR) and my research is uncovering some wonderfully diverse experiences/memoirs.

I interview,transcribe then draft each chapter. There's a lot of historical / geographical background research to be done.

ninah Thu 12-Apr-12 18:08:21

Hi LadyS! you said what I was trying to say - only more clearly! I swear they put something in the chocolate at Easter, a kind of IQ flattening, energy sapping, addictive serum ...
Brooklyn, sounds an interesting project! are you illustrating?

LadySybilDeChocolate Thu 12-Apr-12 18:51:42

blush How's your course going, ninah?

Drip feeding is the key! wink If your writing doesn't move the story on then cut it out. You don't need it. It's hard to do but is worth it. You don't need to bulk your story out with words that you don't need, it will piss the reader off. You want to send them on an emotional rollercoaster so they carry on reading.

ninah Fri 13-Apr-12 12:30:54

It's been fab but exhausting Lady S. Schools hols here, hence posting instead of lurking. I even managed a couple of chapters (well started at about five and cut down to a total rewrite and left with two, which is why grendels post leapt out at me!). Head in sand about work for another few days!
How's things with you? good Easter? sound like you've been consistently productive!

LadySybilDeChocolate Fri 13-Apr-12 18:25:46

You'll get there! It helps to have the persistance of a rottweiler wink

I'm not bad, thanks. I'm getting some agent help but she's so busy and I've been waiting...erm...you get the idea. grin

BsshBossh Sat 14-Apr-12 07:53:48

Hello all! Some familiar faces back too smile Easter school holidays over soon so back to draft 3 on Monday. Whoop! Have really missed it.

ninah Sat 14-Apr-12 09:38:49

persistence of a rottweiler, patience of a saint grin yy waiting ....
hi bssh! I think I'm dreading monday as much as you're looking forward to it!

LadySybilDeChocolate Sat 14-Apr-12 13:53:26

Poor agent has not realised that the longer she takes, the more I will have for her. grin I've just about mastered the art of rhyming texts. Possibly. confused Hi Bssh smile

GrendelsMum Sat 14-Apr-12 18:41:59

Hello BshhBosshh. Nice to see you back.

Ive just had an inspiring day at Cambridge Word Fest - was anyone else there?

BsshBossh Sat 14-Apr-12 19:29:53

Ninah, are you teaching now?

ninah Sun 15-Apr-12 10:33:48

I'm gtp bssh, I teach a 70-80% timetable this term and I am hoping to ramp up a level in terms of standards too. Did a couple of full on weeks before Easter and it nearly killed me. Tbh this holiday has made me wonder if I'm cut out for it. Ex has had dc for a few days and i've rediscovered all the things I liked doing and have been too busy for! There are some real highs to teaching but it doesn't half take over. I think I'll be OK when I'm actually back, and see the children again, it's just daunting when the start of term is looming; I think it's not unusual to feel like this at the end of the hols.
I booked myself into a b and b at the start of the hols and slept swam and wrote. It was brilliant!
Cambridge sounds good grendel, I've never been to a literary festival, the nearest I've got is the literary tent at a music festival. I quite fancy having a go - it's a bit tricky with dc but as they get older it will be easier I guess. What did you see/do?

FlyingAardvark Thu 19-Apr-12 12:42:50

I'm still messing round with my first draft, think I know where I am going with it now but don't want to start second draft till I have more time on my hands, After my mid June exams are over then I can plug away at it.

GrendelsMum Fri 20-Apr-12 08:41:04

I went to the writing workshops, rather than to hear authors speak. Just went to a couple of events, as they're all quite expensive, but they were well worth it for an aspiring writer - including the names of a few recommended literary agents for my genre. A lot of very good, solid, practical helpful advice, which to some extent has reassured me I'm on the right track in terms of the shape of the novel. Mind you, I've come away with so many options for where to go next that I'm even more confused!

I've told myself I'll finish draft 3 and then think about the options of where to go next.

ninah Sat 21-Apr-12 21:03:59

excellent, sounds useful
I've just paid for some advice on an intro. Bit sceptical but I'm stuck and need blunt, impartial input. If it works out I'll recommend.

TinkerSailerSoldierSpy Sat 21-Apr-12 21:08:52

I got about 7 chapters, roughly 20, 000 words. :S Lot of work though, now I know why it takes so long for writers to get new books out!!!

GrendelsMum Sun 22-Apr-12 18:44:28

That's very interersting, Ninah. One of the events I attended covered that kind of advice among lots of others things, so I'd be particularly intersted in finding out how useful it was.

ninah Mon 23-Apr-12 18:22:55

yeah me too! it's only a short report so not too pricey. Will let you know!

Novelist Thu 26-Apr-12 19:08:43

OMG, I finished the sixth episode today. 120,000 words in around six months. Off to faint now. Can't even think about the edits at this point. Wish I had made it to the Cambridge Word Fest, GrendelsMum, but was slack...

amillionyears Wed 02-May-12 21:15:17

Thanks for the welcome GrendelsMum! Only just discovered I had a reply!Ive not been able to work out how the Im Watching bit works.
I am about half way through writing my book, 1st draft i believe it is called.Though I keep thinking I am about half way through!
I have found a publisher that I think would suit the book, and they do allow unsolicited manuscripts, but it seems to be done through sort of writers discussing which books they like, if that makes sense and they go up and down a list, and the best 5 get to the editors desk or something like that.Does that sound worth doing?Thanks.

amillionyears Wed 02-May-12 21:16:12

Not sure if I should be in this group.Feel very out of my depth.

amillionyears Wed 02-May-12 21:18:24

I should say my potential book is very niche, and I did read that sometimes for something like that, an agent is not always necessary.And I cant find a similar book in the UK, 1 a little bit similar in the USA.

ninah Wed 02-May-12 22:12:39

hi, million! why out of your depth? jump in!
are you talking about authonomy? (sp) I had a look on there it seemed a bit of a swamp tbh
fwiw I'd finish the book before you think about publishing. Finish, and then the most difficult bit imo, edit!
do feel free to discount my advice, though, I'm completely unpublished grin

amillionyears Wed 02-May-12 22:26:44

Yes, authonomy, dont know what the sp bit means!
Im out of my depth because, I never set out to write a book. I just had a load of notes in a drawer, and suddenly realised one day they could all be put into a book .haha.
People go on about writing style, well I wouldnt know 1 style from another.
Wouldnt know how to edit, again I would have to research that as well.
Thanks for replying ninah.

LadySybilDeChocolate Wed 02-May-12 22:30:51

I hated Authonomy. Within an hour of joining and putting up a little of my novel I had people begging me to 'support' their work. It's a popularity contest, nothing more.

amillionyears Wed 02-May-12 22:38:06

Thanks LadySybilDeChocolate.That is sort of what I thought.It did seem an odd way to go about things.Is it just used by the one publisher do you know?

LadySybilDeChocolate Wed 02-May-12 22:43:00

I think so. There's so many other publishers out there though and I bet a good book will get to them via an agent anyway. I did use critique groups but really struggled to find one which wrote like me. I found a few of beta readers though but it was the same, once I read their work it was full of errors & wasn't like mine at all. My novel is with a publisher at the moment and I have a picture book with an agent who is trying to sell it.

amillionyears Wed 02-May-12 22:53:39

wow.well done.Being naive at this, does that mean that your novel will definitely get published? And am I right in assuming that an agent must get paid somewhere along the way in commission?

LadySybilDeChocolate Wed 02-May-12 23:17:29

No, they are just looking at it so it could go either way. It is a rewrite and they have seen (and rejected) the first attempt. I was asked to send it back one it was finished but they can still reject it. The agent gets 15% of whatever the book sells for. She's helped me to edit it though so it sounds reasonable to me. They also collect the royalties and deal with the publishers/contract so they do a lot.

GrendelsMum Tue 08-May-12 08:43:28

Oh dear - really struggling at the moment. I'm still trying to up the excitement level in the opening chapters, and DH (my beta reader) has suggested a change of plot, which will definitely up the excitement. But for some reason, I'm now struggling to write this alternative plot. Basically, rather than finding the dead body of a woman who's died in an accident, the characters realise that she's been murdered. At which point, if they had any sense, they'd run away and call the police. But instead, they hang around in a location which might have a murderer with a gun hiding out in a spare room, and basically interview possible suspects. Seems most unlikely.

How's everyone else going?

leguminous Tue 08-May-12 13:20:59

Oh, can I join in? I've got a budding fantasy novel in the works - not the really cheesy kind, or at least I hope not! I'm at a point now where I have the next part planned and really need to just get it written, but am scared to in case it's less perfect on paper than in my head. Which is inevitable, so I know I need to just trust in the editing process, but gah. Paralysis is setting in.

ninah Tue 08-May-12 18:16:48

mo hayder's plots aren't all that likely grendel? she makes them plausible but they're not all that likely iyswim
million 'sp' just means I dunno how to spell authonomy
Hi lady s, good luck, all sounds positive
welcome legume. Just get writing, you're not carving it in stone, it can change later! (thank goodness for m'soft)

LadySybilDeChocolate Tue 08-May-12 18:21:40

Just keep writing it, legum. smile I've rewritten the last half of mine 8 times because I didn't like the ending. Finally... wink Keep writing until you're happy with it. smile

Hi ninah. smile How are you?

CoffeeAhorlicksAnonymous Tue 08-May-12 18:43:57

Hello smile can I join?

I have 5 non novelly things published the day job and have a one off novel and a series I'm faffing about with. I'm stuck on the one off as the main component is a love? story possibly but I've no experience of it. I suppose it could just be deep friendship....mmm, will have to think on it.

Good luck to everyone else will go and read the whole thread

GrendelsMum Wed 09-May-12 15:21:16

Welcome, Coffee and Leguminous (do I see a theme?). All are welcome, but you have to keep us updated as to what you're working on and how it's going.

Ninah - Thanks! I suppose you're right, but I'm reallly struggling to write it as I just keep thinking 'what kind of idiot would do this'?

wordfactory Wed 09-May-12 17:11:11

Just checking in.

Current WIP going sloooooooowwwwwwwly. On a deadline (as per) so am going to have to do some serious lineage damn soon.

grendel I write crime fiction and my rule of thumb is always not would it happen, but could it happen....

ninah Thu 10-May-12 22:23:21

am a big mo hayder fan btw smile

ninah Thu 10-May-12 22:28:20

grendel I kind of have to think myself into the situation and believe it myself. Could you work on another section of the book while this bit percolates?
Lady S I wrote an intro over Easter and can't wait til summer to carry on with it smile the day job is pressing atm. Keep me posted, I love hearing positive news on the thread (even though I'm not actually writing anything apart from plans and job apps)

LadySybilDeChocolate Thu 10-May-12 22:35:43

Not positive I'm afraid. The agent ditched my picture book because she didn't love it enough. It's probably a blessing as she didn't like my novel either (she doesn't like things written in 3rd person! confused) I do have a fab new plot though.

I need some help checking for errant commas in my manuscript. This is copy editing isn't it? Where can I go?

Keep going, ninah!

GrendelsMum Fri 11-May-12 12:49:12

Thanks for all the support! I think I might go and work on a different part of the novel - I'm really banging my head against the desk at the moment.

Sorry to hear about the agent, LadySybil. I had my fingers crossed for you. Oh well, onwards and upwards!

LadySybilDeChocolate Fri 11-May-12 17:48:36

A very large agency has said they will look at my novel again if I submit via the usual channels, I was expecting them to tell me to sod off. I sent it to them last year and it was crap. blush I've been working on it.

ninah Sat 12-May-12 00:07:41

Good luck grendel!
ladys it's good news and bad then! I do admire your persistence and I truly hope it will pay off for you. You just need that one chance. Hope this is it!
commas - do your own check? you're grammatically competent and I'd save the final copy edit for your publishers as it's an expensive enough process. At this stage I'm sure you are going to be able to get it clean enough to submit. If you are still in the same boat come July I'll do it for you smile I do prefer hard copy though

ninah Sat 12-May-12 00:08:58

don't judge my grammar by posts btw, I'm a bit ee cummings on here (lazy) but I am a genuine pedant irl I promise

LadySybilDeChocolate Sat 12-May-12 00:29:13

I have the persistence of a rottweiler! grin I know this agent, she wants perfection. She turned one of the earlier versions down before because it didn't 'sparkle' enough for her and it had errors. I only have to send three chapters off, she won't be reading them unless they get through her readers. {sobs} My lovely friend has gone through the three chapters, there's no a lot of errors so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Not sure about how much more 'sparkle' it has though. confused

Thank you for the offer, I may have a new project soon. grin How's the course going?

ninah Sun 13-May-12 20:07:55

I am just beginning to get to grips with it which is timely as I have scary assessments coming up - this year has gone so fast.
Meantime I am job hunting for September. The house is a tip, and the grass needs cutting - am looking forward to the summer hols to catch up with it all (and write!)
'sparkle' - that's nice and specific grin good luck and keep us posted!

LadySybilDeChocolate Sun 13-May-12 21:10:02

I'm not sure how much it 'sparkles' now but I think that my writing is better. I've put in an additional character and half of it is new so I'm hoping it sparkles enough for her now.

I have my fingers crossed for you, ninah. smile Don't worry about the housework, it can wait. As can the grass. grin

FaneFeyre Mon 14-May-12 13:00:47

Hi all,

I posted early on in the thread but here's where I'm at now:

A small indie publisher has shown interest in my work and is backing my current WIP (short story collection) for a 2013 publication. I'm only at 22,000ish words with LOTS of work to be done so am feeling overwhelmed.
Oh, and I have a 16 week old baby.
Oh, and I am going back to work part-time in a fortnight.

HELP!

amillionyears Thu 17-May-12 19:23:31

You have a lot on your plate,Fane.Good luck with your publisher.
Good luck everyone.
Im plodding, just plodding,but it is moving forward and in the right direction.
Weirdly,I write better when I am in a bad mood, not a good one.In a good one, I want to go outside,socialise etc.My book is sort of a self help book, so I need to be in a less than positive mood iyswim.

Gincognito Mon 21-May-12 20:01:32

Hello all, I'd like to join if I may.

I'm having a lot of fun writing a horrendous first draft of a YA fantasy novel. In my head it's a work of genius. On paper, not so much grin

amillionyears Sun 27-May-12 16:04:09

funny thread this.People pop in and out.
Welcome to Gincognito, I feel like the most lowly member of this group,but welcome anyway!
Good luck with your prospective book,no advice to offer I am afraid.
At least you are having fun with it.

My book needs to go from the stage of notebooks and many pieces of paper,to the computer.My DH has set up word for me, but I have no knowledge of it,and can only use a computer for basics.
I have to take the plunge,but dont know where to begin,and cant seem to use all buttons well enough to make the words go where I want them to.
Also it would be helpful to me to sort of have a side list running down the right hand side of sort of scribbled rough notes iyswim,and he and I dont know how to do this, or if it is possible?

ardenbird Sat 14-Jul-12 12:32:10

Wow, look at the new bits of Mumsnet I keep finding! I see this thread has been stagnant for a while, but is okay if I join? I hope you all will be back at some point... I'm particularly interested in how those of you with your first LOs (Kayano, FaneFeyre, anyone else?) are doing. My first is 3mo now, and I've been back to writing for about a month. I had a break in the last weeks of pregnancy when my SPD was so bad I coudn't sit up or even bear to have a laptop on my lap, then DD was born by EMCS and had a tongue-tie that wasn't diagnosed until 8 weeks -- but I'm finally turning human again and really keen to be writing. Although I'm back to work in two weeks (eek, eek).

I'm currently doing a final polishing edit of Book 1 of a fantasy duology, which I hope to get out to beta readers soon. I'm more than halfway through - going scene by scene I've done 127 scenes with 67 left to go. The plan is to have this (or, even more optimistically, this and Book 2 -- currently in first draft only) ready to be pitched to agents at World Fantasy in 2013.

And here are my questions
1) is this your first novel?
No, second, although the first one I've made a real effort to polish. My first novel was a nanowrimo scifi and will probably never see the light of day again...

2) what is your preferred genre?
speculative fiction, shading more to fantasy than scifi, but I do both

3) what genre is your current project
high fantasy

4) can you give us a brief plot synopsis (25 words or less?)
eep, not yet! I'm still struggling with my "elevator pitch". Each time I try it comes out sounding silly or clichéd -- although I don't think the novel is!

5)when and where do you write
I used to write in the evenings in my room on my "writing loft". That is now DD's room... now I write whenever I can, with DD nursing or napping.

6) any useful tips or advice?
Something I read by Elizabeth Moon (one of my favorite writers) has been helping me keep going lately: she said that if you have to have a break from writing for some personal/health reason, don't beat yourself up over it. Give yourself permission to recognise you're not up to it at the moment, but may be sometime, and come back to writing when you're ready without guilt.

BsshBossh Sun 29-Jul-12 19:51:00

Hi ardenbird and welcome. I'm beavering away at the last bits of the 4th draft of my novel, hence not having time to pop in here. Now the school holidays have started so I'm strugging to find sustained time to write. But my DD (4) is enrolled in a few clubs over the next few weeks so I should be able to fill the free time with writing. I was hoping to have finished this draft by last month, but hey ho. I need to make sure I don't fill my limited child-free hours with errands and chores!

artifarti Mon 30-Jul-12 16:07:01

Hello smile Gosh, I haven't been on these threads for ages. I actually started the equivalent of this thread back in 2011, having wrote lots in 2010 (nothing actually publishable!) then a bad start to the year totally stopped me from writing and then I got pregnant and for some reason pregnancy seems to use every ounce of my creativity! So I didn't write a word in 2011 sad. Now I have DS2 I have started writing again and finally finished writing two picture books that I started way back when. I recognise a few people on this thread - ninah, grendelsmum and ladysybil (who I think has namechanged?!). ladysybil - you were writing picture/children's books, weren't you? How did it go? How's everyone else doing?

ninah Mon 30-Jul-12 16:54:45

hey, arti! congratulations, you have been busy! ds2 wow - and picture books!
I've had a bit of a hiatus too, did my teacher training last year and am now about 12,000 into a new crime thriller. I applied for a masters but haven't heard yet, in a way I hope it's a no as I now have a job for September - a real teaching job! it's maternity cover and I have everything crossed for an eventual job share as that way I could find time to do everything.
are you submitting?
waves at bshh, sybil and everyone else!

artifarti Mon 30-Jul-12 19:39:53

Hi ninah. Teacher training and a new thriller - you've been busy too! Did you submit your previous book? I am also thinking of retraining in education, possibly FE. Was it mad? Not sure I could do it and keep my sanity with two DCs under 5. I am currently editing and polishing the picture books and getting some feedback. I've never submitted before so it's quite exciting even though I'll probably just end up with enough rejection letters to prop up my wonky table! grin

ninah Mon 30-Jul-12 19:55:43

yup it was a mad mad year! I don't have family around etc so I waited til dd was in y1 (especially handy as my gtp placement was with y1 in another school so I could pinch some ideas!). Things seem to be changing rapidly in education but despite current climate, teaching is still the best job in the world imo!
Last book - I submitted, one request for full ms, but not a goer in the end. This one is much better! (eternal optimist). Getting feedback is good it helped me a lot as I have problems detaching from what I've written. Wouldn't it be great to publish... I do wish you the very best with subbing it's nerve wracking but v exciting waiting for the responses.
I am teaching Early Years next year if you ever need additional really tiny beta readers ...

artifarti Sun 23-Sep-12 10:31:10

Hey ninah. How's it going? I saw on another thread that you are going to do the masters you talked about - which one is it out of interest (if you don't mind posting it)? I have just been offered a place on a DL writing course which offers some creative writing options and some more business/features/non-fiction options. I'm really excited but also thinking 'What have I done? How the hell am I going to do this?!'

ninah Sun 23-Sep-12 22:20:34

hi arti, exciting isn't it! I'd rather not post details on here but I'll pm you if it's any good - I start in Jan. Bit worried about combining it with work but apparently the first term is reading and not too strenuous. My full time contract finishes around April, and I've got my fingers crossed for part time work after that. The writing and research does have a habit of taking over, as it's so absorbing. Maybe we should start another thread!

artifarti Sun 23-Sep-12 22:26:54

Oooh - mine starts in Jan too! Go on then PM me! My course is entirely dependent on DS2 being a good napper which is a bit of a worry. Yes, sounds like we need a 'Studying, writing and trying to balance all the other bits of life' thread come January...

ninah Mon 24-Sep-12 20:08:16

haha we should do that! I could do with another day in the week, really
here's to the naps! (his not yours)

Paperbird Wed 26-Sep-12 10:21:54

Hello! Another newbie here. I decided last summer to have a go at a writing a book and am 20k words into the first draft.
1) it's my first novel but I've written all kind of things for family and friends before and even got a tiny bit published in a Polish SF magazine a long time ago!
2) I used to love SF and comics but nowadays am reading a bit of everything, albeit not enough I must admit.
3) Fiction, in French as it's my mother tongue
4) It's all about lies, lies and lies, and how far can you lie before your world collapse.
5) I'm a SAHM of a 18 mo and a 3 yo so during nap time when chores get neglected.
6) Household can wait.

BsshBossh Wed 21-Nov-12 19:55:01

Hello, back again after a long break from this thread but fortunately not from writing. Am now on Draft 5 of my novel and it's really going well. I'm not struggling to find time to write at all these days as I'm really enjoying the whole process so am actively making time to write.

I'm using Scrivener for the first time ever (despite having used Word for all four previous drafts). I copied and pasted every single scene into the software and gave each scene its own "document" or "file". This is making it really easy for me to analyse and work on all the novel's scenes by character rather than by chapter and it's been an eye opener.

I'm also writing a lot more in my (very fab) local library whenever I can as I find it less distracting than writing at home.

How is everyone doing?

allbie Sun 02-Dec-12 19:30:07

Nearly finished my novel! It's fantasy which I have loved writing. It's for children. I'm at 123,000 words and am in the last chapters. I shall be on the sequel straight after cos I'll miss the characters! Synopsis then laying myself bare, so to speak next...I guess! Sigh...and developing my thick skin! Ho!

Absy Fri 28-Dec-12 10:18:09

Hi! I came around to this thread ages ago.

I'm at around 46,000 words and editing like mad, redoing and redoing and redoing and hopefully it will be finished early next year. Then the real work starts ...

Absy Fri 28-Dec-12 10:21:53

I'm also doing a bunch of short stories on the side to practice writing and plot development (though very short plots.)

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