Monday, 27 August 2012

Another Update on Life

So, I’ve been a bad blogger… again. I’ve really dropped the ball with the whole Blogging/Tweeting/Social Networking in General thing, haven’t I? The truth is, I’ve been busy, and haven’t been bothered to blog about anything until today. No post ideas have struck me on the head either, not that I’ve been thinking about too much. And with only three weeks until I fly out to Germany, it’s been easy to tell myself I’ll get back into a blogging routine when I get there.

But! I’ve made myself sit down and write something, so I suppose now is as good a day as any to start blogging again.

I finished the plot outline of ROGUE a few weeks ago, and I’ve been letting it sit so that I can look at it with fresh eyes. I glanced at it the other day, and only made a few adjustments, so I guess that means I’ve got a solid plot.

As you may know, ROGUE is set in Germany, and I’ve decided it's to be a project I can work on while I’m over in Europe. So until then, I’m in-between projects. I’ve decided to get back on the horse early and write a short story – a sequel to HIT AND RUN, which I wrote throughout 2011. I’m still planning it, so I’ll talk more in-depth about it in a future post, I imagine.

As for reading, I feel extremely privileged to be reading a manuscript for Amanda. I feel like a real writer when I can say “yeah, I’m just reading a manuscript for another writer. No big deal*”. It’s cool.

Aaand so, to end this post rather abruptly (because I honestly cannot think of anything to say to finish up nicely), how have you been? Are you writing? Editing? Let me know in the comments!

* This is actually a big deal. I’m a real writer!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

How Writing Daily is Like Learning a New Language

With less than five weeks until I fly out to Germany, I’ve been busy trying to learn the German language. I haven’t been doing too well until just recently, when I realised that it is a lot like writing daily. How so?

It takes commitment: Writing isn’t easy. Learning a language isn’t easy. I’ve heard that the best time to learn a language is when you’re still a toddler because our brains take it all in better. (Unfortunately, what two year-old has a desire to learn German?) For us older folk, we need to be committed to learning a new language, just like we have to be committed to writing. If we’re committed, we’ll take active steps to achieving our goal, whether it’s writing a masterpiece, or simply mastering the basics of German. One way we can show we’re committed is by…

Making it a daily task: If we only look at our Learn German books once a week, we’re going to make reeeeaaallly slow progress. Likewise, if we’re only opening up our WIP whenever we have nothing better to do, it will take years to write a rough draft (trust me, I know). We really have to make language learning/writing a daily task. You need to make time get into a routine – maybe you can spend half an hour writing when you get home from school? Maybe you can spend thirty minutes practicing your German before you go to bed?

Small doses frequently: Tell yourself that you won’t go on Facebook until you’ve written two hundred words. Make a chart with some German words/phrases and read them once before you open your laptop. I think it’s easier to write/learn German daily if you write/practice frequently throughout the day. It can be hard to find one block of an hour, or even thirty minutes, but six lots of five minutes throughout your day? Easy.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with me, or disagree? What other things would you add to this post? Let me know in the comments section!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Update on Life

So, I’ve been a bit of a slack blogger lately, haven’t I? Only three posts in the last three weeks. Life has been a bit busy, what with work, helping out at my church, and spending as much time as possible with my friends before I fly to the other side of the world. Somehow I just keep missing blogging opportunities.

But my writing’s going well. As I said last week, I’ve shelved EXCALIBUR, so I’m dedicating all my writing time to creating an outline for my new project, ROGUE. It’s coming along well; I’ve got an outline completed, and now I’m going through it, fixing up weak areas of the plot, and making sure it flows smoothly. I came to the realisation earlier this week that ROGUE will probably need a sequel, which I don’t really want to be locked into – I’ve got a fantasy trilogy to write as well! So, after playing around with the outline, I think I’ve managed to tie most of it together by the end. There’s definitely still room for a sequel, and a sequel would flow on nicely, but it’s not needed. ROGUE is still a stand-alone book.

On the reading front, I’ve just about finished my TBR pile! One book left! (Two, if you count the book I’m currently reading). I’ve been trying to reduce my TBR pile before I go to Germany so that I don’t have to lug twenty million books with me, so I’m pleased that I’m just about finished. I never thought I’d get there! It is a bit weird though, not having a massive stack of books next to my bed, but weird in a good way.

There’s only five and a half weeks left before I fly out to Europe, and I’m very excited and very nervous! I still can’t speak much German at all – I’ve been trying to make time to learn… but it’s just not going well. But that’s what 24+ hour plane trips are for, right?

Over to you now. How’s your writing going? Are you making excellent progress, or are you struggling along? And I want to know your thoughts on sequels/trilogies: do you like them, or do you prefer stand-alone books? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Project 2012: Stepping Down

This was scheduled to be posted on Wednesday, but Blogger (once again) decided not to post it for me. But, anyway...

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I’ve been away from the internet for the past few days due to general business and this delightful illness, but during that time I didn’t really make that much progress any progress at all. I have reached a decision though, and that is to step down from Project 2012.

This decision came about after Alyssa left a comment on Friday’s post. I posted on how as time goes by, my enthusiasm for my story wanes, especially when it comes time to edit. Alyssa suggested I rewrite instead of revise: that way it’s just like starting a new project, but I’m actually editing.

So over the past few days I’ve been mulling over this (very good!) idea, and I really do think it’s the best way to go. I mean, I’m supposed to be line-editing at the moment, but to be truly honest with myself I’m only reading each chapter but not making changes.

I’ve come to the realisation that I’m wasting my time stubbornly “pretending” to edit EXCALIBUR, and it’s time to change the way I do things. Therefore, I’ve decided to shelve EXCALIBUR, and try a different editing style with my next project. Rather than edit it the way I’ve done previously (with very little success), I’ll write a first draft, then rewrite a second draft.

Thomas Edison supposedly had three thousand attempts at making a light bulb before he got it just right*. When asked about it, he said something along the lines of “I didn’t fail three thousand times. I just found three thousand ways not to make a light bulb.”* Similarly, I don’t see Project 2012 as a failure, but rather it showed me how I don’t edit. In years to come, I’m sure I’ll look back and this project as a huge step in my writing career.

I’d really like to thank Merilee Faber for hosting Project 2012, and also Alyssa for helping me to realise that there are different ways of editing. And to all the other writers participating in Project 2012, good luck! I’ll be on the sidelines cheering you on!

I would like some tips, though. If you’re a rewriter rather than a “traditional” editor, how do you find it? Do you have any tips or advice for me? Share in the comments!

* I’m paraphrasing here. I searched, but couldn’t find his exact quote. This is from memory.