Sunday, 30 October 2011

ROW80 Check-in 30th October

It has been a good week and even though I haven't been able to do any preparation towards NaNo over the last few days (apart from the constant thinking and musing before I go to sleep!) I feel as prepared as I can be for Tuesday!

On Wednesday after check-in I did several hours of preparation including downloading Scrivener and having a play with a plot cork board on that. On the train on Thursday I worked on my character notes (including alibi's) for atleast two hours and made notes on some twists and turns.

Since Friday I have been on a Hen weekend for my lovely friend I am being bridesmaid for on the 3rd of December....yes, I know, 3 days after the finish of NaNo! I am determined to use the first two weekends to get extra writing in so the last few days of NaNo aren't too horrendous! Lauren tweeted me asking what a Hen Weekend was and I am not sure if there is an American version? It is basically a celebration of the bride or 'hen' getting married and it can be an evening out, a day at a spa, a weekend away, anything really that suits the bride and lets the bride have a good time with her friends (and sometimes family) to celebrate her upcoming wedding. The men have a stag party to celebrate too. For my friend's we went to London and amongst other things we learnt the dance routine to Beyonce's Single Ladies at Pineapple Dance was amazing! Early night tonight though, thank goodness the clocks went back and we got an extra hour in bed today!

I knew I would not be able to do anything towards NaNo and I have to say I really enjoyed taking a bit of a step back from planning and knowing the weekend would be busy I was more motivated to work harder earlier in the week. As this is my first NaNo I don't necessarily know what I need to do personally in order to be ready but I hope I have done enough. I am accountable here as from Tuesday my ROW80 goal will be to write 1,667 words a day. My family and some friends know I am doing NaNo which is great accountability and also working with Lena on our Fun not Fear support group means hopefully I have all the accountability and support I will need to get my through.

I will aim to check-in briefly (with word counts) here on a Sunday and a Wednesday and we will check-in briefly at Fun not fear on a Friday!

Good luck everyone who is taking part in NaNo and hope every ROW80er out there has a great week!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

ROW80 Check-in 26th October

Things are moving along nicely this end, I think! I am still quite new to plotting and outlining so I am doing what I can before Tuesday and the start of NaNo but whether I am doing enough and everything I will need, that remains to be seen!

As I am off work this week I have definately done a couple of hours preparation a day for the last few days and will do that after posting this check-in. Today is all about writing my scenes on post-its and identifying what needs to happen in each scene e.g. making some people look suspicious, information that needs to be revealed, character traits that need to be shown. At times I think I have bitten off more than I can chew writing a murder mystery but then I think, why not? Might as well give it a go!

I have been checking out my regional NaNo forums and hope to meet up with some people during November for local write ins. I have been reading lots of blog posts about NaNo, some of which will appear on mine and Lena's NaNo support group Fun not fear! link mash up on Friday. There are some tips I really like such as writing throughout the day in small chunks, not necessarily sitting down to write 1,667 words in one chunk. For me, on a work day this will look like some writing in the morning before work (shudder!), some when I get home from work and some after dinner. For some reason thinking that I don't have to write my daily amount in one lot makes me feel better. I also like the idea of stopping mid sentence or paragraph so I know where to start the next time I sit down to write. Time will be of the essence so I won't want to sit staring at the screen for 20 minutes before writing a word. I know this might happen but I want to do what I can to try and prevent it!!!

I hope everyone is having great weeks and for those of you taking part in NaNo, hope your preparations are going well!!! Less than a week to go!!!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

ROW 80 Check-in 23rd October

Very quick check-in today as I am just in from an amazing weekend at a University friend's wedding and I need to quickly pack as I am heading to my sister's house for a few days.

This week has gone well with my cast list written and thanks to a productive train ride on Friday every character has a brief description and I am trying the technique of finding a famous person who looks like each character to help me with descriptions. I am fairly daunted as the chick-lit piece I was working on before had three main characters and a handful of secondary characters but this piece has 21 characters (not all major characters obviously) so I am concern about keeping track of them all!

I have definately done 30 minutes a day and probably exceeded it as I am constantly scribbling bits down and saving notes to my phone. I can pretty much guarantee whenever I get in my car to drive somewhere a brilliant idea strikes.

I am not at work this week so the next three days especially are all about the NaNo prep. I need to create a fictional village, flesh out character profiles and work out my sequence of events. Oh and also work out everyone's alibis and break the murderers so they can actually commit the murder! SO MUCH TO DO! But am grateful we have a school holiday so for a few days atleast I am not confined to evening hours only. Next weekend I am away (well from Thursday) and I might be able to grab bits of time but really I want to crack on over the next three days.

The end of November seems to be filling up quickly with work things so I want to try and get a good start to NaNo and really use my weekends to get some extra words in. I am so excited to start writing and loving reading tips and hints other writers are blogging about. Don't forget to check out mine and Lena's NaNo Fun not fear website if you are taking part in NaNo or can offer some support and encouragement to those who are if you are not!

I will be around checking out check-ins tomorrow morning as now I am running late and not packed! Hope everyone has had a great week!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Wednesday 19th October ROW80 Check-in

So far this week has gone well and I did an hour of character work/plotting/reading for NaNo/researching on both Monday and Tuesday. On Monday I made a list of all the characters I wanted and gave them all names and ages. Then I woke up on Tuesday and crossed two of the hotel staff off....I just didn't think I needed them! Still a long way to go and am hoping to complete some character profiles tonight but have had a hectic day and am sooooo tired. We will see. Feels good to be an hour over my goal of half an hour a day.

However I may need to call on this hour this weekend. I have a friends wedding and I am away from Friday till Sunday. I hope to do some work on the train but on Saturday there is no chance and I am ok with this. I am off work next week as it is half term so hopefully when I am a bit rested and have some daylight time on my hands I will really crack on with plotting and sequencing the scenes of my story.

NaNo has been on my mind alot and when I have days like today when I have not stopped between 7am and 7pm it makes me think how on earth am I going to NaNo? Think I have mentioned before I am hoping to get some words done before work in the morning (eeek!) and I think the weekends will be key.

I also will be able to get through it because Lena and I have our NaNo support group blog up and running! I must say here that Lena never ceases to amaze me with what she achieves and she has definately done most of the work to our site. You can find it here Fun not fear! The name fun not fear came from several online conversations Lena and myself had about wanting to take part in NaNo but wanting it to be as fun as possible. Our plan is to post a small post on a Friday (a NaNo check-in if you will) with short updates of how we are getting on and we will also link other blogs that we have read relating to NaNo aswell. We would love it if people stop by and let us know how they are getting on or to cheer on others if you aren't taking part yourself. We won't post apart from this as we don't want to distract ourselves from our writing too much! There is also a linky page where you can add your NaNo profile so people can buddy you.

Please do stop by and read the welcome and introduction and if you want to know more about us you can click on the 'About us' in the top right hand corner. The preparation for the site has got me so excited for NaNo itself and I love a bit of accountability!

Ok, off to look at some people's check-ins and to hopefully do some character work.....hope everyone is having a good week!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sunday 16th October ROW80 Check-in

Goals met and I am feeling so so positive about my writing today! I can't put my finger on why but I guess it is because things are coming together in my head. After the 'lost' writing month of September I am loving the fact I am back to scribbling on post its, having ideas when I am driving and catching myself day dreaming about my NaNo murder mystery. Sigh. It feels so good!

The end of this week saw me finish watching the episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs and I have even more pages of scribbled ideas. I have been online researching which has thrown up some lovely details I hope to weave in to my story and also just things that make me smile. Did I mention I am setting my story at Christmas time? I am, because I love Christmas! Look at this vintage 1930s Christmas china I saw on Ebay.
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This is definately going to feature!

I have some more bits and pieces to look up but I need, need, NEED to start plotting, planning, developing characters and everything else that needs to be done before November hits.

I followed a link retweeted by Gene today (whilst procrastinating I admit it!) and read this brilliant post by Larry Brooks about what to try when you get stuck in your NaNo prep. I found on this site a post from each day of October so far (and am assuming they will continue until November 1st) about NaNo and the preparation involved. They are great reads and are really helpful at identifying what you have already achieved in your prep and what you need to do. Todays as mentioned is about what to do when you get stuck in your prep. Larry suggests watching a movie and looking at each scene and literally plotting the story. Identifying plot points, focusing on what the scene means to the story. Guess what I will be doing later today?! He explains it much better than me so look here.

Ok, off now to check out some check-ins, do some more research and try out the activity above.

Before I go though can I just ask NaNo people that it is ok to write my NaNo on Microsoft Word Starter 2010? There are no rules about the software you write on are there?

Also IMPORTANT NEWS! Me and Lena have been working on our NaNo support group blog so hopefully it will be up this week! We will announce on both our blogs and on twitter when we are up and running! So exciting!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Wednesday 12th October 2011

Well this week has thrown up time challenges but I am managing to stay on track. On Monday I had a list of things to do as long as my arm and with unexpected phone calls I only managed 15 minutes of research into hotels in the 1930s. I made up for this before work yesterday with a further 15 minutes research on the same topic. Last night I had a friend to stay (who knows nothing of my writing) so I got nothing done. Therefore today I spent an hour watching one of the episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs and I now have 3 pages of notes on dress and language with little detail ideas scattered amongst it. Whilst this seems like loose research I actually feel like I am starting to understand the time period and feel like I can imagine my characters and location more.

Whilst I am on track I am struggling time wise. My workload for my job can be a bit relentless and I also am blessed to have a lovely social life so I am not getting as much done as I would like. But I have a lot of this weekend free so I am planning on tackling my plot and starting to put my story ideas down. I was rubbish at getting around to other people's check-ins and I want to do better at this whilst not using my writing time to do so. I guess it is all a balancing act.

One thing I am considering in my NaNo prep is early morning/before work writing. I think this may be crucial to my success. I figure even if I only manage 10 or 15 minutes before work (I am not great in the morning) then this will lessen my evening word count. I guess it is something I can try when November is here!

I am off to check out some check-ins and I hope everyone is doing well with their goals!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

ROW80 Check-in 9th October

Well week one has been great in many different ways. I have met all my goals (30 mins a day on NaNo preparation and two check-ins).

On Thursday I spent time researching murder, hanging and arsenic. It is amazing what you can find by simply googling things as I starting point.

On Friday I spent time goggling events of my chosen year (1936) and also read lots of cases of poison from the 1930s.

Now the weekend I have been staying with some of my friends and we watched all 4 Scream movies in an early Halloween kind of extravaganza! Even though I technically need to do half an hour of something today I am going to count watching these as research as it did get me thinking about red herrings, motives and back storys. Also I had a good chat about writing with one of my friends which I loved as I so rarely talk about writing in my 'real' life. Also she has offered me her flat one weekend during NaNo as a bit of an escape as she will be away the saturday till sunday. I know I live alone so technically can lock the door, turn off my phone and settle in but there is something so inviting about a change of scene. I can't wait.

So time wise, I have done really well if I do say so myself! My Upstairs, Downstairs DVD arrived on Friday so I think watching an episode of that and taking notes seems like a great plan for tomorrow night.

Another lovely thing is that Nicole has asked me to be her ROWsista! I felt so touched that she thought of me and I look forward to getting to know her better as we drag carefully nudge each other in the right direction.

So week one, goals met and a happy me. It feels so good to be doing something productive towards my writing even though I get terrified when I think of plotting my NaNo murder mystery....better start soon in case I struggle. Off to check out some check-ins before bed.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

ROW 80 Check-in 5th October

The start of this round has gone well for me and I think I am slowly getting my head back into this writing game. Thank goodness!

On Monday I sat down and realised that I know very little about the time period I have selected - 1936. This was a bit of a random selection but it was inspired by my Uncle's 75th birthday as he got lots of cards with info about the year 1936 and it just made sense to me. Can't really explain it! I knew bits and pieces like the Berin Olympics etc but I couldn't tell you exact fashions and I also wanted to find out if household staff were a big part of everyday life as this is integral to the loose plot I have in my head. So you guessed it, I googled. Actually, I tried to go to the library but due to government cuts the hours of opening of my town library have been cut so instead of being open till 7 it shut at 5 and I got there at 6 so that was a no go.

On Tuesday I was online again following up bits of information and found that the 3 episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs that the BBC aired last year were set in 1936. Guess what I was busy buying on Amazon last night! Love that watching them can be filed under research!

Tonight I have focused on language and common phrases used in 1936 and also at common names for the 5 decades before 1936 to get a feel for names. Think it is going to be fun to play with these characters.

So a positive start even though it is hard to get out of the word count mode I was in before but as I said October is all about the planning!

Hope everyone else is having a great first week!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

ROW80 Round 4 Goals 2nd October

I know round 4 of ROW80 officially starts tomorrow but in keeping with my wed/sun posts I thought I would post my goals today.

I am going to keep it simple but hopefully effective to help myself get into the flow of things after nearly a month of no writing....can't believe it has been that long.

October Goals:
Goal 1 - 30 minutes a day of preparation for NaNo. This can be research, plotting, developing characters, anything to help me prepare for November and my first attempt at writing a murder mystery.

Goal 2 - Check-in every Wednesday and Sunday. I need this to keep me motivated and I love the support I get from others and the motivation I get from reading others check-ins.

From November 1st:
Goal 1 - Write 1,666 words a day as part of NaNo. I know this will be hard some days so will slot in a weekly word count goal - 11, 662 to help me try and stay on track. Wow that looks like a lot! I am not going to put a time goal on this but if I write at the speed I did in the summer it will be an hour to an hour a half a day. Eeek!

Goal 2 - Check-in every Wednesday and Sunday

Simple but effective. October is to prepare, November is to write.

I look forward to seeing everyone elses goals! Here we go....