Wednesday, 22 February 2012

ROW80 Check-in 22nd February 2012

Well this week hasn't started off quite as I expected. Fresh from a successful week last week I started Monday full of gusto but then personal things happened that left me a bit frazzled so I missed the Monday night sprint and didn't do any writing. I won't go into details here but will pop my experiences in the ideas folder in my mind that I can draw from when writing about the aftermath of a break up. That sounds dramatic! I am fine really, I have good friends and time is a great healer or so I hear!

Anyway, onto more positive things:

812 words in first half of #row80 sprint
23 pages read in second half

742 words in 30 mins (I was home early from work so did this before sprint)
32 pages read in 30 mins of sprint (other half was spent on the phone to my mum!)

So I feel back on track. Thank you so, so much for all the helpful comments last check-in regarding showing not telling. It is amazing how supportive everyone is and the examples were great! I won't be scared to ask what I consider to be a daft question again! Hope everyone's weeks are going well, am ff to check out some check-ins!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

ROW80 Check-in 19th February 2012

As always quick recap of goals:

1) Do 30 minutes of something writing related each day.
2) Test mile - 250 words a day.
3) Read two books a week for 100+ reading challenge.

4) Review one book a month. (Done for this month and can be seen here )
5) Exercise twice a week.
Even though I haven't managed any #row80 sprints this week I have kept on top of things since Wednesday.

379 words in 20 minutes
10 minutes reading up on writing in the first person
Aqua Aerobics One hour

852 words in 30 minutes
20 minute walk

596 words in 30 minutes
10 minute walk

15 minute walk
No words as of yet.....

I have been plodding on with writing my WIP in the first person. I really like it and think it is the right thing for the story, it is just I am slow at writing this way! I read up on writing in the first person and the number one rule seems to be staying away from too much use of 'I'. One article (I can't remember which) says when editing hightlight every single 'I' and try to do something different with it. I also need to work on showing not telling which I am embarrassed to say never really understood before! If anyone has any links to advice on showing not telling they would be most welcome here!

Apart from today (so far!) I have done 30 minutes of something writing related, met and exceeded my test mile every day, read more than two books (I am on book 15 of the year) and posted my book review. I also met my exercise twice goal and exceeded it! This feels so so so so good! Walking and swimming are going to be my new best friends I have decided.

So happy bunny this end and although it has not been a blaze of glory week I have got everything done. I have loved having time to read although I did have to invest in some reading glasses on friday as my reading, writing and the day job are straining my eye muscles! They are cute and quirky though so I don't mind.

I am going to use the extra 15 minutes I did earlier in the week so today I will write my test mile for 15 minutes and then my week will be wrapped up nicely. Hope everyone is doing well and I look forward to reading some check-ins :)

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

ROW80 Check-in 15th February 2012

My goals this round are:

1) Do 30 minutes of something writing related each day.
2) Test mile - 250 words a day.
3) Read two books a week for 100+ reading challenge.

4) Review one book a month.
5) Exercise twice a week.

So far this week things are going well. I am not at work as we are on half term so I have lots of time on my hands. Time that I am filling with family and friends time with some writing and reading thrown in.

Here is how my week is going:

271 words in 15 minute test mile.
40 minutes working on my book review for this month - Death comes to Pemberley by P.D.James

336 words in 15 minute test mile
20 minutes working on book review which I posted yesterday and you can read here. It is only my second ever book review so any comments are gratefully received!
10 minute walk

512 words in 30 minutes of writing.
Will be walking to and from town later when I meet a friend so that is probably 20 minutes of walking (uphill all the way back)

I have a plan to go to aqua aerobics with my mum tomorrow so that is one exercise ticked off. I had a massage yesterday with a voucher I got for Christmas and I love massages. Love love love them. The only problem is I have what I call a 'crap back' (not a medical term!) which means my lower back is constantly inflamed and basically means massages can be painful as the nice lady tries to ease some of the tension. I know I mentioned before my knee has been playing me up since I have doing my dance classes and the lady spent time on my knee as it is swollen and inflamed all up my sciatic nerve to my lower back. Since I haven't actually been to dance class in three weeks it shouldn't be like this so I think for now dance class needs to be off the cards. I am disappointed as it was good fun but I need to get back to swimming which does my back and knee no end of good.

I have been reading alot which is one of the things I love to do in my school holidays. I am on book 13 of the year as I have already read two books this holiday so I am ahead on this goal I think. Review is done so big tick. Exercise is going better and I need to get better at this and keep it in mind.

My test mile is working out well for me and I have started writing in the first person after my epiphany the other day that my story would work better this way. I have to say it is taking some getting used to as I need to think like my character in order to write as her and I feel I am writing slowly as writing in the first person is new for me. I feel I am writing slowly but hey, writing is writing. I am ignoring the 50k I might have to go back and change as thinking about that.....just doesn't help! I haven't made any sprints as they are 7pm my time and I am always having dinner with family or friends but I am managing to get some writing in each day regardless. Is not the same as sprinting with everyone though!

I feel like I have jumped around in this check-in so hope it makes some kind of sense! Hope everyone is having a productive and creative week!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Book Review: Death comes to Pemberley by P.D.James

"The Year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the Pemberley nursery, Elizabeth's beloved sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live within seventeen miles, the ordered and secure life of Pemberley seems unassailable, and Elizabeth's happiness in her marriage is complete. But their peace is threatened and old sins and misunderstandings are rekindled on the eve of the annual autumn ball. The Darcys and their guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland, and as it pulls up, Lydia Wickham, an uninvited guest, tumbles out, screaming that her husband has been murdered."   (Death comes to Pemberley)

The moment I heard P.D.James had written a book utilising the characters from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice I knew I had to read it. I love Pride and Prejudice and I love P.D.James' books so putting the two together seemed like an amazing idea and I wasn't disappointed with the result.

P.D.James was born in Oxford in 1920 and has written over 20 novels. For years I wrongly assumed P.D.James was a man simply because I had never seen her in any medium and I have read this was partly the intention of using P.D. rather than her forename to keep it ambiguous as often male crime writers are taken more seriously then female writers in the genre. Her novels throw light on what living in Britain has meant at different points of the last century and her cleverly conceived plots and interesting characters draw the reader in right up until the last page.

Combining her two passions of writing detective fiction and reading Jane Austen, P.D. James has taken the characters and settings of Pride and Prejudice and joined them six years after the conclusion of the novel. The tone of the novel mirrors that of Austen and it gives interesting insights into the legal system in 1803. It is fascinating to see how James imagined the Pride and Prejudice characters ending up and for the most part I agree with her predictions. However when taking characters people know so well I doubt you could ever make everyone happy and there were moments when I thought 'Elizabeth wouldn't think that!' and I felt my much-loved characters who I like to think I know so well were being misunderstood.

I had to take a step back and read this book as a stand alone book so I didn't get bogged down in what I thought should happen and what I wanted to happen. I don't want to give much away about the murder itself but I think anyone who likes a murder mystery or Pride and Prejudice (or both!) would enjoy this book. It is well written and shows how elements of human nature rarely change over the years.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

ROW80 Check-in 12th February 2012

Ok, lets start with the positive:

984 words in 30 minute sprint.

Since then, nothing!

Well not nothing but no writing. I have exercised by walking 20 minutes - a journey I would usually drive. But I have spent a wonderful few days with family and friends and I wouldn't change it for anything. I nearly didn't check-in as I felt a bit naughty not making my test mile and not spending 30 minutes on writing related activities each day but I have had much needed friend/family time so I am happy. Tomorrow is a new day!

I have been able to do some reading (I know I could have written in the time I was reading but it was always late at night) and I have read 10 books so far this year which makes me (I think) on track for the 100 book challenge.

Even though I haven't been writing I have been thinking an awful lot about my WIP. I think it needs to be written in the first person. I don't quite know why I wrote the first 50,000 plus words in the third person but I did. So I have to work out what to do now. My plan is to start writing from the point I am at in the first person and see what happens. When I first realised that I wanted to change this it freaked me out. A lot. But deep breaths and lots of thinking later I have decided to just move forward and see what happens. I just think first person makes a lot more sense for the story. Deep breath.

I hope you have all had great ends to your weeks and unlike me have actually done some writing! But like I said, tomorrow is a new day!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

ROW80 Check-in 8th February 2012

This week has felt like the longest ever and it is only Wednesday!

Here is progress so far:

740 words to WIP during 30 minute sprint
Read for other 30 mins of sprint and managed 25 pages (have now finished this book = 9 read so far)

791 words to WIP in 30 minute sprint

Read 38 pages in first 30 minutes of sprint
Wrote 863 words in second 30 minutes of sprint

Reading for half of a sprint is helping me fit more reading into my day and if I write sprint first then it is a nice reward and helps me relax. Tonight I read first as was finishing my food and I couldn't quite relax because I was thinking ahead to my writing. So writing and reading has gone well this week. Exercise? Not yet. I was so relieved dance class was cancelled tonight as I am not feeling well and suddenly felt overwhelmed by the amount of things I need to get done before Friday so whilst it is good time wise and meant I got to sprint tonight it hasn't helped my exercise aversion!

I have just finished reading P.D.James 'Death comes to Pemberley' which uses Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice characters and the storyline occurs 5 years after Pride and Prejudice ends. I think this will be the book I review as it is so different to my last review and because I really enjoyed it. Watch this space!

Only two more days of work and then I get a week off as it is half term. I am hoping to fit lots of writing in but I already have lots of plans with family and friends so I will have to see how it goes and might not be around for much sprinting action but I will try!

Hope everyone is having a super productive week :)

Sunday, 5 February 2012

ROW80 Check-in 5th February 2012

Well it has been quite a week in different ways. First recap of goals:

1) Do 30 minutes of something writing related each day.
2) Test mile - 250 words a day.
3) Read two books a week for 100+ reading challenge.

4) Review one book a month.
5) Exercise twice a week.

It is easier to walk through my week because it was all quite up and down progress wise!

13 minutes writing 428 words.
I was late in from work and had work to do at home so didn't get much done but I did make my test mile.

30 minutes writing 867 words
I think this was done by joining in half a sprint on #row80

I turned 29!!!
Had a great day but no writing, no dance class and no check-in. Even though checking in twice a week is not a goal it did feel strange not to and I never caught up with this.

30 minutes writing 605 words
During half a #row80 sprint

Spontaneous food and drinks with work friends so didn't get in until bedtime. No writing but a great time :)

Saturday - also known as catch up day!
1 hour sprint - 1,650 words
Another 1 hour sprint - 987 words
Total words - 2,637

I tweeted @laurengarafalo to see if she was around and as luck would have it she was up for some sprinting! I therefore caught up on my missed minutes and my missing test miles and then some! Felt so good to write when I wasn't all tired from the day job.

17 minutes writing 509 words.

Even though writing hasn't been daily this week I still think I achieved alot. I completely failed to exercise but I enjoyed my social plans with friends which is all part of having a birthday! On the reading front I just don't seem to have had time. I worked out I need to read atleast 2 books a week to make the 100 in the year however as a teacher I get long holidays and tend to read lots and lots in shorted spaces e.g. over the two week Christmas holiday I read 6 books so there is some wriggle room. In January I read 8 books so I am somewhat on track but I think I need to try and find a bit more time to read. I also need to think about reviewing when I am reading as I think the book I am currently reading will be the one I review in February.

So, some good, some bad and some ugly (no exercise). But I am smiling and pleased especially with my word count for the week which is....4,537 words! I do write much quicker during sprints so I am really going to try and join in with them this Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

I hope everyone has had good weeks with lots of good and no bad or ugly bits. Have a great week!