Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Wednesday 28th September - Miniscule update

I have nothing to report today. Nothing. But I am here because I said I would be.

I have had more murderous thoughts (mwha ha ha) and a few ideas which are dotted here and there on post its but I haven't actually done anything.

I know that I have had lots going on and work and my weekends have been very busy but I was hoping I would be back in the swing of things a bit by now. The recent change in my personal life has thrown me completely and I know it is going to be hard for a while longer yet. I just need to ride it out, distract myself (hopefully with writing!) as this too shall pass.

I have settled on my ROW 80 Round 4 goals which I will post on Sunday but I really hope I start to get my plot etc. for my NaNo mystery down on paper soon. Maybe I need to accept that it might not happen before the start of round 4.

Hope you are all ok and those ROW80 goals are forming themselves beautifully!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sunday 25th September - Tiny little update

I said I would continue to check-in on sundays and wednesdays between ROW 80 rounds so I keep the habit. What astonishes me is that I am so out of it in terms of dates I didn't realise there is only a week between rounds! Ha! I thought there was atleast two or three! Oh well...atleast I noticed!

In terms of writing I haven't written anything but have been reading murder mysteries and also watching murder mystery programmes/films to inspire me. I have been away all weekend on a hen weekend and had an amazing time and even managed to have some clever thoughts about my characters on the train on the way home today which I have stored in my phone. I hope they still seem clever after some sleep!

This week is going to be all about settling on my round 4 goals and also thinking about how I can incorporate NaNo into them. I think for the month of October my goals need to be research/plotting based and once November 1st hits I need to change my goal to simply writing 1,666 (or more!) words a day!

Hopefully by Wednesday I will have done some work on getting my initial plot ideas down as at the moment they are in my head and saved on my blackberry!

Hope everyone is enjoying the mini 'break' between rounds and have great weeks!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

ROW 80 Check-in 21st September

I can't believe this is the final check-in of Round 3 of ROW 80! It has been such a great 80 days with highs (and lows) and I have learnt so much. Here is a recap of my goals.

* Complete the weekly Fiction Friday prompts from (on 'our writing prompts' page).

* Spend 30 minutes a day on writing or writing related activities (e.g. planning, researching, revising). So in a week I am aiming for 3 and a half hours of dedicated time. If I miss a day I will try and make up that 30 mins elsewhere in the week.

* Post ROW80 check-ins on Sunday and Wednesdays and also one additional post a week. So three posts a week.

*Goal added in week 5 - Exercise atleast two times a week.

When I look at my geeky tracker I realised for the first 9 weeks of the round I achieved all my goals with the exception of a fail for my exercise goal in week 7. I am so proud of myself for achieving all my goals for the first 9 weeks even though these last three weeks have been terrible in terms of progress.

Even though my personal life threw me a curve ball in week 10 which saw my writing stop dead I am not going to focus on that but I am going to focus on the brilliant, happy things that have happened.

* I have written drafts of two children's stories which I hope I will return to at some point.

* I have written 33,141 words of my chick lit WIP that I WILL return to once I feel in the chick lit frame of mind.

* I have made many online writing friends who cheer me on and look out for me when things are tough.

* I have found the confidence to sign up for NaNo in November.

* I have shared my desire to write with some people close to me.

* I have found time in my day to day life to write and have started to take my writing seriously.

* I have recieved 3 blog awards.


I will most certainly be around for Round 4 and my time between now and the 3rd of October will be spent deciding on goals and hopefully making some headway in my NaNo murder mystery plotting. I plan to post small posts (famous last words!) on Wednesdays and Sundays as it is habit for me now so please stop by if you want to know what I am up to!

Also it is in these posts that I will share any NaNo build up/panic and Lena and I will hopefully have some news about a NaNo support group for ROW80ers soon too!

Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, tweeted a friendly word and I look forward to seeing you in Round 4!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

ROW 80 Check-in 18th September

Another check-in with not alot to report I am afraid but onewards and upwards. I can't believe there is only one more check-in after this before the end of the round! I also can't believe how derailed I have got after doing so well initially but don't we constantly say to each other sometimes life gets in the way?

Ok, lets find some positives because even though I haven't been writing I have been reading and thinking about writing. I went to my book club for the second time on Friday and again enjoyed the informal discussions. We picked the next book and do you want to hear something freaky? Later that day my friend gave me a copy of the book we have picked. Isn't that freaky? That someone completely unconnected gives me the book we have decided to read? Spooked me anyway. So I look forward to reading that.

I finished reading a PD James book this morning and read it with an eye on how good mysteries are written. I am ploughing tiptoeing through my idea to write a murder mystery. I read somewhere that Agatha Christie started her books by outlining all the characters alibis and then fixed one so that it could be broken and they could commit the murder. This seems like a good place to start! My biggest concern is still not being able to write quickly (which NaNo is all about) but I think I need to crack on with research and the plot outline so I have lots to go from. I have a week off at the end of October for half term and even though I am busy at the weekends I will have atleast 3 or 4 days in which I can work on it.

Oh and huge breakthrough! I told my parents and my sister and brother-in-law about my plan to write a murder mystery for NaNo. They know nothing about my blog or the fact I was writing all Summer but I always intended to let them know about NaNo. I am at my parents for the weekend and randomly blurted it out and they have been very supportive. I think they think it is a whimsical fancy which has appeared because of my recent personal upheaval but hey, atleast I have told them!

So plan forward is to start working out my characters and do some period research. I already have a murder in mind and a killer so I just need to work out the rest!

Hope you all have lovely weeks and thank you for all your supportive comments. Again, if anyone stumbles across any articles/tips for murder mystery writing they would be gratefully recieved!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

ROW 80 Check-in 14th September

Since Sunday I don't have a lot to report. It is amazing to me how I was steaming along and now my head is completely out of the writing game. Well not completely out because I have been checking in, have been thinking about NaNo and today I even did something writing related!

I read two chapters in two books about writing to do with writing murder mysteries. I still really like the idea of writing one for NaNo but I do have some concerns. One is that I will accidently end up re-writing an Agatha Christie plot but simply change the names and my other fear is I will scare myself! I think if I write in a different period (say the 1920s or 1940s) I won't get so spooked. My other fear is the amount of plotting it will require and also NaNo is all about the word counts and I do find I can 'babble' on when writing chick-lit but mystery writing might need to be more considered. So I need to do more thinking.

Lovely news is that Karen gave me a blog award *blush* I can't say enough how much these awards have meant to me (and yes I am aware I sound like I am accepting an Oscar). I have hit such a bump in my writing road that I have had fleeting moments when I have just wanted to give up but the idea that someone thinks of me when they are deciding who to pass the awards on to makes me acknowledge the amazing support and community I have found on here and how much I have enjoyed the last few months since I started writing. Ok, I am babbling.

The rules are as follows:
Anyone who accepts this is asked by the person selecting them to do three things:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.

2. Share 7 things about yourself

3. Pass this Award along up to15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it!

So, thank you Karen!

When I recieved the Kreativ Blogger Award I had to tell you 7 bits of information but I am not one to shirk away from a challenge so here are 7 more things about me off the top of my head that I don't mind sharing.

1) When I was small I wanted to break an arm or a leg just for the plaster cast. I even used to roll down stairs trying to do so.

2) I am very, very fussy about food. I need to see someone about it because I know it is psychological. For example I won't eat ham because it is slimy and rice is too many little bits in my mouth. Dont judge me.

3) I love Beyonce. Like properly love her. I think she is beautiful and inspiring and I went to her concert a few years ago and she is AMAZING! Me and a friend live our lives by the motto - What would Beyonce do? It helps, trust me.

4) I hate change in all forms. At work, home, anywhere. Hate it. But am working on it.

5) I am a crier. Whether my emotion is happy, sad or angry I cry. Is very frustrating at times.

6) I will read books or watch shows or films over and over again and never get bored of them.

7) I take on other people's accents when I talk to them. I have been mistaken for being American, Australian and South African and was once asked if English was my first language BY A COMPLETE STRANGER!

Ok, hope random facts are random enough for you.

Now the third bit of passing on the award I am really looking forward to! I have found so much support from so many people and below are a list of the people whose blogs I love to read. Thank goodness I finally learnt how to 'link' people!

I am hereby passing the award on to......

lenacorazon (nice new pen name! ;) )

Marie Andrews

Nadja Notariani


Lauren Garafalo

Gene Lempp

Wendy Jane

Claudia Lefeve

I am off to let these lovely people know and to check out some check-ins. I hope you all have a great last week!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

ROW 80 Check-in 11th September

Firstly, thank you for the lovely comments/tweets after my last check-in. I really did appreciate them. I have found it comforting that whilst other aspects of my life are not turning out how I expected that I still have an urge to check-in and even though I haven't written since Monday I don't want to lose touch with the wonderful community I have found by taking part in ROW 80.

It is strange as I don't want to splash my personal life all over here but I feel like I need to justify my complete goal failure this week....guess that is the double edged sword of accountability! It is probably enough just to say that my writing stopped dead as I had reached the part in my book where two characters are madly in love and truly I cannot write about that right now.

Whilst I haven't been writing I have been reading and have updated my 'Books I have read' page. Reading took a slight backseat to writing but I have been very glad to distract myself with books.

I have also been thinking about NaNo and if my aversion to chick-lit continues for a while then my NaNo idea may be no good. I have been thinking about writing a murder mystery a la Agatha Christie (might as well aim high and I do live in Devon after all!) so this is a request for any links/tips people have for writing a murder mystery. Any advice would be very gratefully recieved!

Before I go I had some lovely news this week just when I needed it. Tia over at Depression Cookies awarded me the Kreativ Blogger Award. Thank you so much Tia, you have no idea how wonderful it was to hear you had given me this award especially as you gave it to people you feel reach out and support other writers.


Now the rules are to thank the person who gave it to you, write seven things about yourself and to pass it on to other bloggers. Thank you again Tia and now for the seven things about me. Oh dear. Like Tia I will write the first seven things that pop into my head that I am willing to share.

1) I am 28 years old and have only lived in 5 different houses throughout my life so far. My parents still live in the house I grew up in.

2) I studied Psychology at University.

3) I am a practically a professional people watcher....almost to the point of it being inappropriate.

4) When I was younger I used to swim and represented my town in competitions in the South West and once went to France to compete in a gala. This is as sporty as I get.

5) I have visited 12 European countries outside of the UK. They are Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Poland and Switzerland.

6) I have had the same hairstyle for pretty much the last ten years. Don't get me wrong, it is more of just having long hair rather than a style.

7) This December I am being a bridesmaid for the 4th time. It will be the second time my bridesmaid dress will be green which I love.

Not the most intelligent things about me but I hope there is something there for everyone!

Now to pass the award on. There has been lots of talk in our ROW 80 community about awards and I want to pass them on not because the 'rules' say I should but because so many people inspire me. I have picked four bloggers who I read come rain or shine and they always make me excited to write.

I am going to pass the award on to:

* Jamila Jamison
* Marie Andrews
* Nadja Notariani
* newtowritinggirl

Thank you ladies for all your encouragement, support and for being so damn inspiring!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Very quick ROW 80 Check-in 7th September

Cards on the table, I am having a shocking writing week. On Monday I had a really long day at work but wanted to try and write something so I managed to write 1,035 words which I was happy with.

Then life has gone a bit off course personally so I am having to take a step back from writing for a few days. I saw Nadja's comment earlier on my last post saying that she had checked to see if I had checked in and it made me think I should do a mini check-in even if there is nothing much to say.

I may not be around much for the rest of the week and I will try to catch some of your check-ins. I hope you have all had great weeks and I hope next check-in is a bit better.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

ROW 80 Check-in 4th September

This week all goals completed!

I managed two other walks (when usually I would have driven) so my exercise goal is met.

After this is posted I will have completed my three posts this week. My post yesterday was simply called Fear and thank you to the people who have left brilliant comments. I feel I am not alone!!

The Write Anything Fiction Friday was to write a scene of pure dialogue, no attributions, narration, description or scene setting. It was so, so hard but interesting to have a go at.

I set myself the goal of reaching 30,000 words before I had to go back to work on Friday. I had 1794 words to go and on Thursday I wrote for an hour and managed 1,937 words taking my WIP total to 30,143 words! I felt AMAZING after achieving this mini-goal. I realised that I started writing my WIP on the 28th of July so in 36 days I had written 30,143 words. I am thrilled with this but very aware that I did this during my Summer holidays. NaNo will be more words and I will be trying to fit them around work but I am looking forward to the challenge!

On Saturday I wrote for 40 minutes and managed 989 words and today I wrote for just over an hour and managed 2009 words. So my WIP now stands at 33,141 words! Plan for the coming week is to keep writing. I am really enjoying my writing and I have been reading some chick-lit recently (the genre I am writing) and I have found the words are flowing easier than when I was reading other books over the summer. Not sure if this is just coincidence!

Lovely news this week is that Jamila and Marie both awarded me the Liebster blog award. I felt so happy to get an award and to get it from two people was somewhat overwhelming! 

  1. Show your appreciation to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Post the award on your blog.
  4. Bask in the camaraderie of the most supportive people on the internet—other writers.
  5. And best of all—have bloggity fun and spread the love.
Ok. First job is to link back to Jamila and Marie.
Jamila can be found at and @jamilajamison
Marie can be found at and @Marie_Andrews

Stop by and check them out if you haven't already. They are fun and inspiring and constantly encouraging and supportive. Thank you ladies!

So now for my picks. Jamila and Marie would be on my list but in the spirit of paying things forward and spreading the liebster love further they get an honourable mention and I will pick 5 different bloggers to pass the award on to.

1) @laurengarafalo

2) @Newtowritinggirl

3) @Tia_Bach_Author

4) @PT_Writer

5) @NicoleBasaraba

I hope everyone has had a great week and the next week is even better!

Saturday, 3 September 2011


The other day I was reading Nadja Notariani's ROW 80 Check-in and she threw out a simple question which really struck a cord with me - 'What is your biggest apprehension in the writing/publishing process?'

My immediate answer which I actually spoke a loud was EVERYTHING.

Absolutely everything about this process terrifies me. Let me list some of my fears off the top of my head.

1) What if the plot is awful?
2) Are my characters wooden/unlikeable/annoying?
3) Will my dialogue make people cringe?
4) My grammar is appalling.
5) I will never finish my WIP.
6) I am going about this whole writing thing the wrong way.
7) If I finish my WIP no one will want to read it.
8) If they do read it they will hate it.

I don't think I am alone in having 'am I any good at writing/is there any point in trying?' thoughts. Surely it is natural to have these worries as we as writers are pouring out part of ourselves into every sentence we write. Our stories are our babies and sending them out in to the world is terrifying. When I have these thoughts I take a deep breath and reassure myself that I am doing something I always wanted to do. If it comes to nothing, at least I will have tried it. At least I (and you guys!) will know I tried and that is better than never attempting to fulfil a dream.
Even if my writing comes to nothing and is simply something I do for me I will have gained so much. I will have gained a sense of achievement. I will gained a way to switch off from my day job that lets me express myself. Most importantly I will have gained new friends from all over the world. Friends who support me and encourage me, who make me laugh and make my well up with their kindness (yep, I'm a crier!). Friends who understand me and I think that is pretty amazing.
So from now on I am not going to focus on the fear. I am going to focus on writing, fun and the people I am meeting in this crazy writing/blogging world. What will be will be.
You can see Nadja's blog with the question that sent me off into a spiral of contemplation here -
Also, Nadja's debut novel 'Claiming the Prize' was released yesterday and on her blog there is a coupon so you can buy it FREE this weekend at Smashwords! Go get it! I have and I look forward to reading it!