Thursday, 1 March 2018

Chaboocha 2018

Greetings and salutations. It's been a while since my last update; my daughter and I were due to move at the end of January/beginning of February so we were busy house-hunting, and sorting, culling, and packing our belongings. I continued to write daily, but I couldn't spend the time writing as much as I wanted. At almost the 11th hour we found out that we didn't have to move. We were relieved as we do love where we live. Since then we've just been trying to catch our breath, and slowly reorganise the house. We're taking the time to change things up. One of the first changes that we made was to move office area, and while it isn't finished I'm already loving the changes. Pics will be posted later when it's finished. So today was the first day of chaboocha (chapter book challenge) where participating writers aim to write a book over the course of the month. I have decided to resume work on "Death Goes to High School". I have spent the past couple of weeks prepping as much as I could, while nursing a head-cold. I rarely get colds but this one knocked me for six. I looked closely at my earlier attempts; worked out what could be salvaged, what needed to be pushed to book two, and what needed to be scrapped entirely. Today I wrote approx 1000 words, which wasn't as much as I had hoped to write, but I did also identify cliches/tropes, found more that could be moved to book two, and spent more time developing themes for the book. I'm casually confident that I'll be able to finish a very rough draft by the end of the month. I'm aiming to post daily updates across the various social media platforms; with the majority being posted on here and over at Patreon.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year

Just a quick post to say Happy New Year. I hope you had a safe and fun celebration. Life is still fairly bumpy at the moment, but I've set some writing goals for 2018, because regardless of what happens I do not want to lose the momentum that I gained in 2017. The daily writing will continue as it's a habit now; a day doesn't feel complete without something committed to paper or to a document. But I'm ready to branch out a little further this year. I want to complete more work. It's great that I have so many ideas and drafts; there won't be a shortage of projects to work on, but I want more in the completed files by the end of 2018. So I've set myself a monthly target to aim for over on Patreon, which includes reviews and blog posts. The target is flexible; depending on my health and if life settles. So I look forward to sharing more about my writing adventures with you.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Day 1 NaNoWriMo

Greetings :) It's been a while since my last blog post, and I feel as if I owe a penance for that. But I have kept up with my writing :) so it's not all bad. I'm hoping to get back into the sadlle, or the writer's chair, and resume blogging on a more regular basis. But for now I'll ease back into it with regular NaNoWriMo updates. I still find that communicating some days is a chore, and typos, and other errors still slip through. But if you are all gentle with me, maybe I'll stumble over my tongue, well fingers, a little less.

A few weeks ago I wasn't sure whether I should sign up for NaNoWriMo this year, as my health isn't the best. I've spent most of the year recovering from a breakdown and an injury. I took part in a few writing challenges earlier in the year and I had some success with them (I wrote every day and I moved the projects forward), but while I'm in somewhat better shape than I was then, I still cannot deal well with stressful situations, and a writing challenge can somewhat stressful under the current circumstances.

But I signed up, promised myself I would continue my daily writing habit, that I would set small goals and I would move my project forward, rather than aim to complete the whole 50k. I couldn't decide which project to pick back up and was almost certain that I would continue with Death's Apprentice, but a few days ago I decided to go back to my first (surviving) WIP, The Crush, a teen horror, started circa 1997. The basic plot still stands, I've resolved a couple of plot issues, and a lot of what I started all those years ago is salvageable. My style has matured since I was 24, and in some ways it feels like a collaboration with the younger me.

I even went so far as to create a rough mock-up cover, as suggested by the NaNo team. The cover I have in mind for the finished book will be fairly similar to this, but blood will drip from the title and form a pile of rose petals at the bottom.

This morning I woke up prepared to write (well type). My goal for the day was 1667 words; a nice strong start, to balance out with those days where I won't have as much time to write. I made that goal within a couple of hours (or less) and I continued to over the 1800 word mark. I'm more than pleased with this start. I was going to attempt to drop by a local write-in today but in the end I couldn't face it, so hopefully I can make another one. I did catch part of a virtual write-in, so that was something different for me this year. But for now I'm just happy that I have resumed work on this project and that I achieved the first goal that I set for myself.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Review - Conflagration by Adam Quinn

I was excited to have the chance to review a novella written by the son of one one of my fav authors Susan Kaye Quinn. It took a little longer than I would have liked, due to the painkillers knocking me around, but I've finished the book and posted the review up on Amazon.
I am new to the worlds of Adam Quinn, and his novella, Conflagration, was the perfect platform to jump right into the midst of things. There was no real disadvantage for readers, like myself, that are not familiar with the Drive Maker series, as Adam has provided just enough background information to keep newbies in the loop, while providing enough intrigue that I definitely need to read the other books in the series to find out more. Fast paced, with a few twists and turns, I didn't want to put the book down. I honestly don't recall being drawn this much to a Space Opera since Anne McCaffrey's "The Ship Who Sang" series. On another note, the cover is outstanding; too many covers have a cookie cutter look to them, which is a pet peeve of mine, but this one stands out. I look forward to reading more of the Driver Maker series. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Day 18 - Evolution of a poem

you have brought so much magick to my life. i crave your touch, your arms, your voice. your kiss is intoxicating and i'm hooked. tell me how to stop loving you and wanting you. because you are a part of me now - and cutting you out of my life is like cutting off a part of my body.
This is an excerpt that has been sitting in my files since November 2015. At that time I was taking part in #nanowrimo, and I had jotted down these lines thinking that they could be suitable for one of the scenes that I was working on. The book was "This is NOT a Fairy Tale", and it was for a scene for chapter 16 "The Lone Wolf". I recently pulled the files out to work on them for #campnanowrimo, and I realised that the lines would probably be more suited to a poem, but I wasn't entirely convinced that they needed to be a poem; it's not like I have a shortage of poems that I am working on after all. :)  I thought that I would use them in a letter in that chapter. But each time I have read that chapter the idea that these lines they should be a poem wouldn't leave me. I remember what inspired this scene, these words; and tonight I decided to have a play around with them. And thus my latest poem was born. 

As you can see, the two pieces are similar, and also completely different. At this stage I haven't finished writing this chapter, so it's quite possible that I will still use the original lines in that same scene, and I will more than likely keep with the idea of them appearing in a letter in that scene. 

Over this past few months I have been intrigued with how my poems evolve. Some started life as nothing more than a one word reminder written at 3 am. Some were rough bits jotted down 15 years ago and finally given their final form this year. And occasionally I will create 2 slightly different versions of the same poem, if I am undecided as to which version works better. I am still a little shy about sharing so much of my process but below is an example I shared a while back, on my Facebook Page: Bron Rauk-Mitchell: My Words; the piece in pink is the original version from 2015. But it always felt incomplete. I had looked at it dozens of times, to see how I could complete it, and finally earlier this year the words came to me. As you can see I've taken the essence of the first and used it in the second to make something new. 

It seems at this stage I'm sharing more here about the process of writing This is NOT a Fairy Tale than I am about pr-aA sAt, so perhaps it would have been a more sensible idea on one hand to use This is NOT a Fairy Tale for both challenges. However, I had already made a lot of progress with This is NOT a Fairy Tale in 2015, and pr-aA sAt has spent far too long sitting in my head waiting for one day so I'm sticking with my decision to work on both books this month. I may not be making the same kind of progress that I am with This is NOT a Fairy Tale, but pr-aA sAt is taking shape nicely. There is still a lot of research to undertake but I have knotted out some of the problems that have kept me stalled in the past. I'm definitely keen to add a few more historical events, so I'm aiming for 16 chapters now, and I've decided to have the main, human, character turn amateur detective in between the stories set in the past. It will give those stories a bit more cohesion, and there's nothing like a good mystery :)

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Day 12 - chip chip chipping away at the pile
I know that it seems as if I'm making a bit of noise over small, writing-related achievements, but I've spent so long beating myself up for what I haven't achieved over the years that I decided to try a new tact. I am chipping away at my writing projects, every day; I'm moving forward. It all adds up, it's all steps towards completion. I feel that this warrants making some noise over it; for myself, and for others that may find themselves in a similar position. It's too easy to look over our shoulders and see those rejections, those discarded projects, missed opportunities etc and miss that we are actually "chip chip chipping away" at the pile. So for now I'll make a little noise when I add a few words to my total, when i complete another poem, when I have spent some time plotting and planning. It all counts in the end; it's all a part of the journey, a part of the process. Because beating myself up every day doesn't achieve anything positive; doesn't achieve anything worth celebrating.
#Campnanowrimo update: I began afresh on mapping out the stories within the book, and the characters already involved, so that I could identify where stories and characters can intersect more. I need at least 6 more characters for the stories that I already have; not background characters but main, or at least significant, characters. I realised that two separate story ideas could be combined into one story; and I realised that a couple of semi-important characters should be major players in other stories. All of this may sound confusing, and muddled, but the end result will be a stronger cohesive story (or stories with a story as the case is).  Over time I may add a few more stories, but for today I'll be moving forward with what I have.

I know that I said that I wouldn't get caught up with word totals; that the most important thing for me is to just move forward with the story, even if it was just a few words each day, and I mean that. But I'm also happy to note that over this last 12 days I have written 1700 words; bringing the total for the manuscript to over 20 000 words, and bringing me closer to my goal for this challenge.
#BYBin30 update: I didn't make as much progress with this story today as I would have liked, but I did note down a few realisations that could cause problems for my story, and for pr-aA sAt herself. I have worked out a temporary solution that will allow me to move forward with the story. I've also realised that I'm allowing fear to halt my progress on this book. It's something that I do with every book, every challenge. I permit the ghosts of the past to question my abilities; my abilities to write, to research and to complete the projects. I second guess myself, even though I know deep down that I am not out of my depth. All I can do is just keep chip chip chipping away, and try to drown out those voices; if I have to I can always turn up the volume and blast those voices away, at least for a while. But when you've been told constantly that you are stupid, when you are constantly made to prove yourself, it affects you in unexpected ways. Just the thought of making a mistake, of being called out for being a fraud, can make you freeze up. And trying to explain that to others that haven;t been there is challenging. They try to brush it off as something all writers go through; but this is linked to ghosts of the past, this is linked to bullying, to toxic former partners. Now that I have put this fear into words I can try to work around it, but it's going to take time, and it's going to require me to be a little more patient with myself. And we are back to where we started tonight; acknowledging the progress. Celebrating the small breakthroughs. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Day 11 - back in the groove

After an introductory session with a new pysch today, especially coming on the heels of a small down swing, I felt emotionally and physically wiped. It is often the result of sessions like this, where I am asked to recount my history, etc etc. Band aids are ripped off, scars are opened and it's raw and messy. By the time I left the session I was on the verge of tears and I was completely scattered. All of those experiences and emotions were churning around in my head for a large part of the day. I couldn't focus enough to write things out, so I sat down and watched DVDs with my daughter, keeping my notebook and pencil close by so that I could jot down random ideas.
Once I could sit down calmly at the computer, I was determined to finish any editing that remained for "This is NOT a Fairy Tale"; but as I began the process of editing the documents, words flooded out and I ran with them. It didn't matter how rough they were, or how cliched, I just had to get them out of my head. That was my method with this manuscript for nanowrimo 2015; I would pour out what was buzzing around in my head, and then I would go back later to make sense of it all. And that seems to be the best method for this particular manuscript. That burst of writing sent me over the 1000 word mark for #campnanowrimo, and has brought the total word count, for the manuscript, closer to 20 000 words. I know I said that the point of signing up for this challenge wasn't about word counts, but seeing the word counter tick over a little more every day reminds me that I am making progress. This is NOT a Fairy Tale has been a work in progress for a few years or more, even if I didn't start the actual physical writing until 2015.

It has occurred to me lately that I need a few more characters, and I need the characters and stories to overlap a little more than they do already. Having the Bookshop as a central point is a start, but this would be stronger, overall, if the stories intersected more. But it could become a messy jumble if I don't plan this out carefully; I have plotted out the characters and their stories so that I can see at a glance which characters could naturally match up story wise, but I want to try something different, something a little more visual. I'd like to map this out onto a whiteboard or large piece of cardboard so that I can hang it up in my office, to have it in front of me as I write. I think this could be a more effective way to keep everyone straight.

#BYBin30: I have made a little more progress with pr-aA sAt; that is BOTH the book and the character. I can see her more clearly now; not only her physical appearance but how she is as a character. Yes she is an Egyptian Mau but she is much more than an ordinary moggy, not than any cat is ordinary :) She was lacking depth; if kids are going to follow her adventures there needed to be more to her than I had noted down. She needed a much more defined personality and a clear purpose beyond being a cat; and of course being a Cat is enough of a purpose in some ways but for the sake of this book she needs a bit more purpose than simply existing. I don't want this book to be a dozen rehashed historical events, loosely tied up together by two dimensional characters; it needs to be an adventure against historical backdrops. It needs a sense of magick and mystery, and I'm on my way to achieving that now.