#IWSG Feb: Bookshelf Philosophy

bookshelf2
Tony was so fed up with the tatty old shelves that had been taken apart and put back together over the years that, when we renovated our house, he had the carpenter make these for me.
I love my bookcase ❤

I didn't just put this picture up to show off (ok, maybe a little bit 😉 ) but also to demonstrate how my reading habits have changed.
Thing is, some of that is due to the rise of the kindle too, and as this month's Insecure Writers Support Group question is, How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader? I'll have to save that for another post. And maybe yet another post; What does your bookcase say about you? Hmm maybe I'll do a three-parter. Tune in next week too!

However, back to this month's question.

I have less time for reading these days because I now spend some of that time dreaming up my own stories. As a result, I’m less patient than I once was. If I were purely a reader nowadays, I’d spend an awful lot of time on Goodreads, and I’d probably have some kind of book blog.
But writing and children don’t allow time for that, so my reading habits have changed.

I’ve always read fairly widely, but now I also read to learn new techniques, for research and to read the novels of fellow writers, and that can lead to little gems that I’d perhaps not have stumbled upon otherwise.

I’m more sympathetic to authors, because now I understand that this is someone’s baby, and the amount of work they’ve put into it.

I can spot clunky writing and poor proofreading. And I can appreciate good writing – and by that I don’t just mean beautifully polished prose, but writing that’s so effortlessly smooth you don’t realise you’re reading it. All of these can provide a benchmark for my own work.

How has writing changed reading for you? Or maybe you just want to compare bookcases? 😉

IWSG Badge
The IWSG was founded by Alex J Cavanaugh, where writers can blog about their hopes, dreams and fears. If you want to join this merry band of writers Click here to add your name to the list.

The awesome co-hosts for this month are; Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy and Joylene Butler!

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Storytime Blog Hop

It’s a bright, but frosty morning here in Devon.

The sun is so bright that if you’re heading east, you can’t see a thing. But if you stand still too long your feet stick to the ground. (Yes, I do realise that this is NOTHING to the extreme weather you probably get in your part of the world, but we don’t get exciting weather very often, so when we do, we like to shout about it.) (Really – the Eskimo’s may have 90 words for snow, but that’s nothing to the number of cusses a Devonian can come up with for rain.)

Anyhoo, my point is that it’s not a morning for going outside if you can possibly help it. Far better to light the fire, stick the kettle on and check out the stories in the latest Storytime Blog Hop.

1. Veronica by
Jessica Kruppa

2. Last Stop by Erica Damon

3. Jesse and Tyler by Bill bush

4. The Poisoner of Time by Karen Lynn

5. New Stork Inc. by Katharina Gerlach

6. THE THIEF & THE POCKET HEART by Juneta Key

7. Hello Again! by J. Q. Rose

8. Reflected by Elizabeth McCleary

Happy reading! And don’t forget to drop by and say hi to the authors 🙂

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Anybody hopping?

storytime bloghop

The first storytime blog hop for 2017 is NEXT WEEK!!!

I don’t have anything ready for it this time, but I’ll be reading everyone else’s stories. Could your story be one of them?

If you have a 1,000 word speculative short story that you’d like to add to the mix, pop on over to Juneta Key’s site for more information.

And if you want to see what previous hops were like, you can look here, here and here.

Happy hopping people! 🙂

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Family Heirlooms

Yay! I have a story in this week’s People’s Friend magazine!

pf-jan-2017

jennys-legacy

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#IWSG: We could all use a little suncreen

I’m slowly crawling out from the fug of Christmas and squinting into the sparkly gleam of a new year, but I have to concentrate on getting the kids back to school first!

Being the first Wednesday of the month, this is my posting for the Insecure Writers Support Group. However as it’s also my first posting of the year, this is for anyone else too.

Anything I have to say is rather neatly encapsulated in this link. If you haven’t heard it before, it’s definitely worth taking the time out to listen. If you have, it’s still worth a re-listen. (And if you haven’t got time, stick it on while you do the washing up or cook tea).

Whoever you are, whatever your plans; we could all do with a little sunscreen.

IWSG Badge
The IWSG was founded by Alex J Cavanaugh, where writers can blog about their hopes, dreams and fears. If you want to join this merry band of writers Click here to add your name to the list.

The awesome co-hosts for the first posting of 2017 are; Eva @ Lillicasplace, Crystal Collier, Sheena-kay Graham, Chemist Ken, LG Keltner, and Heather Gardner!

Don’t forget to drop by and see what they have to say 🙂

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#IWSG December: What next?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again when

IWSG Badge
…founded by Alex J Cavanaugh, blog about their hopes, dreams and fears. If you want to join this merry band of writers Click here to add your name to the list…
The awesome co-hosts for the December 7 posting of the IWSG are; Jennifer Hawes, Jen Chandler, Nick Wilford, Juneta Key, JH Moncrieff, Diane Burton, and MJ Fifield!

Before I continue, (and because I know everyone is itching to know), Yes! I completed Na-no!
I rocked in on day 30 with just over 50,000 words of a novel.
That novel still isn’t finished and I need to crack back on with it today as I feel as if I’ve spent the last week catching up with the stuff I didn’t get done in November because I was concentrating on Na-no! (Hey ho, one step forward…)

But it was a great experience, and if you want to know more you’ll have to check out my last post as that probably said everything that needed to be said.

Meantime, it’s IWSG day, and this month’s question is; In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

Ok, sitting comfortably? Then off we go.

First, let’s backtrack to five years ago. Back in 2011 my aim was probably ‘to be published’, and perhaps also subconsciously ‘to feel like a writer’.

I’ve done that now. I’ve had stories published on-line and in magazines. I’ve become a member of two ‘real-time’ writing groups as well as some on-line communities, and I’m a lot more comfortable talking to friends and family about my writing. It’s much easier to say ‘I write’. (Not quite there with calling myself ‘an author’ yet though).

I know I’m still on my journey. There’s a long way to go, but I’m more confident of the terrain.

In another five years? I’d like to be a published novelist. (And perhaps it’d be nice to be able to stand up and say, ‘My name is Angela and I’m an author’.)

Now, I could do this tomorrow. I have two novels written and another on the go. I could load them up onto KDP or whatever platform of my choice and send them out into the world.

But I won’t. Because they aren’t ready yet. I know they don’t need to be perfect (I could spend the rest of my life procrastinating if that were necessary). But I have to feel confident that they are as good as I can possibly make them, so that in a further five years I’m not cringing and wondering what on earth possessed me.

So, my plan?

Keep doing what I’m doing; writing, learning, growing (that’s growing my writerly presence, not my waistline!) I’m learning that it’s good to not have too fixed a plan, because things never work out quite like you expect, and it’s good to be flexible.

What about you? Where do you see yourself in five years?

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Time for a nano update

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantIt’s over two thirds of the way through my first Nanowrimo, (if you’ve missed what that is, it stands for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, where writers are challenged to write 50,000 words of their novel over the thirty days of November), and I thought it was time for an update.

It’s been interesting.

First off, I’ve been typing directly rather than writing longhand first. There are still times when I itch to doodle with a pen and see what ideas come through, but on the whole it’s been much easier than I’d thought. (This could save me a fortune in notebooks, but leave people scuppered for Christmas present ideas.)

Typing directly has made me realise that
a) I can do it! And
b) I write more than I’d realised.
You see, when you’re writing longhand you tend to only count the finished text, not the notes or the errors. By participating in word sprints I’ve found that I average out at about 200 words in ten minutes. I’m quite impressed with myself.

I’ve set up a Nano file in Scrivener with a fresh document for each day of November. In the notes section on the side I record the target word count for the day, and what was actually achieved.
Initially I started out at the standard 1,667 words per day and was easily going over that. That’s just as well as weekends are so busy I don’t get much writing done, so it all balances out. I’ve taken to looking at the remaining word count on a daily basis and dividing that between my remaining ‘writing’ days to work out my daily targets. Then I’ve generally aimed for 2,500 per day anyway to give myself a comfortable buffer in case some kind of disaster strikes.

I mentioned word sprints earlier. This is where people write for an agreed time, then record their word count at the end. My ‘Team Holly’ nano group has a chat room set up for this. You sign in, say hello, and whoever was first starts the timer for ten minutes. At the end of that we compare counts and cheer each other on. I’ve found it great for focusing. Where on my own I might stop and stare into space or make (another) cup of tea, here I’ll carry on and before I know it I’ve racked up another 600 words. (AND I’VE WORD SPRINTED WITH HOLLY LISLE!!! That’s so cool 🙂 ).

I’m also doing a lot of pantsing. Or maybe that’s plantsing as I do have a vague outline, but this month is also an adventure to see where my characters and I end up. I mean, I know where I want us to end up – or thereabouts, but not how we’re gonna get there. Certainly there have been bees involved, which I didn’t expect and still don’t know what’s going to happen with them.

I cut my nails at the start of November, because I thought that pounding the keyboard with my normal talons might be a bit painful. So hopefully an added benefit will be that by Christmas they’ll have not only grown back but will be the same length!

holly-nano

One final reminder (as much to myself as anyone else): DON’T FORGET TO BACK-UP!!!

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