Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween

Warning: Disjointed post ahead.

It’s interesting to see how different Halloween is between countries. Halloween seems to be a big thing in the United States, but in Australia it’s an informal thing. The US seem to buy elaborate costumes and have massive orange pumpkins, while in Australia kids make their own costumes, and I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen an orange pumpkin. As a bit of fun trivia, in Ireland, scary faces are carved into turnips. Yay for fun trivia.

One thing I really don’t like is all the grumpy people in Australia who don’t like celebrating Halloween. They complain when people trick-or-treat at their doors, telling them that “we’re not American so we don’t celebrate Halloween”.

-_-

My response to that is (or will be, because I only found out for this year) that Halloween has links to the Celtic festival Samhain (which derives from the Old Irish word Samuin, meaning ‘summer’s end’). There are also links to Roman festivals for the goddess Pomona. So Halloween originates from the United Kingdom, and Australia kinda originated from there too. So BAM! Take that grumpy old people.

Does this post have anything to do with writing? …No. But if you haven’t read a blog post I did a few months ago on fears, you can read it here. Even if you have already read it, feel free to read it again and check out the horrible spider picture. That’s enough to give you nightmares.

For the comments, are you dressing up for Halloween? If so, what are you going as? Have a great Halloween!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Tips for Winning NaNo #2

I’ve never done NaNo before, but doesn’t mean I can’t help, right? This week, I’m posting some tips to help you write 50K+ in November! (Sure, you could just Google it, but then I don’t have anything to post on this week :P ) You can see Part 1 here.

Competitions with friends: If you’re like me, you like to win. Even if you’re not competitive, having a writing competition with your friends can be a great way to boost your word count. You can race each other to 1K, or see how many words you can get down in ten minutes.

Skip the hard bits: 50K is a lot to get down in 30 days, so you need to getting down as many words as you can in each writing session. To maximise your words, you may need to skip the chapters that you find boring, that need a lot of research, or will slow you down in any way. Don’t forget, you can go back in December to write what you missed.

Simple tricks: There are simple things you can do to expand on your total. Hyphenated words count as only a single word, so don’t hyphenate a word if you don’t have to. You should also spell out any numbers too. Instead of writing 123, write “one hundred and twenty three”. That’s four bonus words! Contractions are a no-no in NaNoWriMo. “Don’t” = bad, “do not” = good. “Haven’t” = bad, “have not” = good.

Good luck NaNoers!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Tips for Winning NaNo #1

I’ve never done NaNo before, but doesn’t mean I can’t help, right? This week, I’m posting some tips to help you write 50K+ in November! (Sure, you could just Google it, but then I don’t have anything to post on this week :P )

Go for that extra 100: At first, 100 words might seem like a lot, but when you see it written down, it’s not that much. So when you’re writing, always aim for those extra 100 words. It won’t take long, and then you’ll be 100 words closer to finishing! (I was going to say 0.2% closer, but that doesn’t sound nearly as encouraging.)

Write all the time: See that calendar on you wall? Rip out the month of November. You don’t need to make any appointments/meetings/anything next month because you’ll be busy writing! Use all your free time to write: on the bus, in your lunch hour, at the dinner table. Even if you only get a little bit written, it’s better than nothing. On that note…

Tell your friends: Let your friends know what you’re doing, and explain that if they disturb you, you will murder them be very angry with them. Tell them that you’ll need to spend all your time writing, so if they call you about that awesome party on the weekend, they won’t be so shocked when you scream back “why are you wasting my time?! I could have written 26 in that time that your disturbed me! Are you trying to sabotage me?”

Check back on Friday for some more tips! But for the comments, are you doing NaNo? If you’ve done it before, do you have some tips for winning?

Monday, 24 October 2011

Writing Update

As I posted last week, I had been having some trouble keeping accountable with my writing, and I had stopped writing daily. I’m happy to announce that with Maggie’s help, I’ve gotten back into the rhythm.

I’m now writing 500+ words again each day, and most exciting of all is that I should be finished my WIP by Christmas! I played around with some figures, and determined that if I write 500 words every day I should have the novel written by 10 December (but this is assuming I don’t write a word over 78K, which is unlikely). So, yeah, a complete rough draft by Christmas, all ready to edit after New Year’s!

This means that I will have written my WIP in seven months – my quickest yet. It’s interesting that each novel I work on is longer than the last, word count wise, but also written quicker.

Onto my short story, HIT AND RUN, I started editing, but it’s been on hold since… well, since I started! I’m hoping to get back to it, but I have to remember that my WIP has top priority. I can edit the short story over the Christmas period.

So, for the comments: how is your writing going? Nearly finished, or just starting? Or, if you’re doing NaNo, have you finished planning yet? Let me know!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Books!

I’m on book overload at the moment, and it’s not even Christmas yet! Here’s why:

Matthew Reilly’s SCARECROW AND THE ARMY OF THIEVES: I got my dates mixed up, and I didn’t think Reilly’s latest book was coming out until Christmas time. I was wrong, and Matthew Reilly’s announcement came as a real surprise on the release date: 12 October. (“What?! Today?! Why aren’t I at the bookstore?”) I’m now scrambling to finish reading a book I’m halfway through, so I can read the prequel again (which came out in 2005), and get onto Army of Thieves. I finally got my hands on the book over the weekend, and isn’t the cover sexy?

Andy McDermott’s TEMPLE OF THE GODS: I’m pumped to read Army of Thieves, but Andy McDermott is my favourite author of all my favourite authors, and I’ve been waiting all year for this release. Australia is quite lucky in that Temple of the Gods is being released here first (over the UK), and this is the book which is coming out in time for Christmas. I want to be better prepared for this book, as it’s the final book in a trilogy-within-a-series (if that makes sense), so I want to read the first two books in the lead up to its release.

Clive Cussler’s THE RACE: Cussler’s latest novel came out a few months ago, but I haven’t got around to reading it yet. My mum bought it for a birthday present, which we didn’t end up giving, and then my dad got his hands on it. Hopefully he won’t be too long with it, because… well, I think you know why!

For the comments: what books are you excited to read, and why?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Why Writers are Like Entrepreneurs

I recently wrote an assignment on entrepreneurs, and included in the report was some characteristics of entrepreneurs. Thinking about it, I realised that these characteristics could fit writers as well.

Innovation: Innovation is coming up with a new idea to a problem – something that’s never been thought of before. In writing, there are only a certain number of ideas, and everyone keeps rewriting them. But notice how there isn’t Star Wars, Space Wars, and Star Battles? Writers are innovative, and that means we can come up with new perspectives to the same ideas. I mean, Eragon is virtually Star Wars with dragons. Genius.

Creativity: Last week I blogged about how I felt uncreative. But after reading everyone’s comments, I’ve realised that you can be analytical and creative. With the comments in mind, I’ve also realised that, despite what the tests say, I must even a little be creative. How else do I explain all the stuff I make up in my head?

Risking Taking: There’s a lot of risk taking for entrepreneurs with starting up a new business or idea. It’s the same with writers. Some people are fast writers, but it takes me a few years to get a rough draft down, and I’m guessing a lot of writers are in the same boat as me. It takes a lot of time to write a novel, and it’s a big risk. What if you change your mind halfway through? What if no one else likes it? What if you get 742 rejections from agents? That’s a lot of time to throw away. If writers aren’t risk takers, how would they take the risk of writing a novel that won’t get anywhere?

Will to Act: As I said in the point above, it takes a lot of time to write a novel. Who has a few years to dedicate to a book? (If you’re reading this, and you’ve made it this far down, then you’re probably a writer… so ‘you’ would be the answer to the question.) A lot of people want to write a novel, and they say that there’s a novel inside everyone, but not many people actually write it. It takes a will to act to sit down and write, not just think.

Do you agree? Why or why not? What else do you think should have been added to the list? Let me know in the comments section!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Keep Me Accountable

I was doing so well with my writing during the 100x100 challenge, write every day. I knew that things would get a bit rocky once the challenge ended and I was no longer putting my daily word counts up for others to see.

I was right; since the challenge ended two weeks, ago, I’ve only written 7 days out of 11, and those days have been minimal with regards to word count. I really want to get back to writing 500+ words a day, so I need your help.

On Twitter, I’m going to be recording my daily word counts, but I need you guys to keep me accountable until at least November. I need you to make sure I check in every day, and if I don’t… pester me until I do.

Okay?

Thanks!