Success!

I’m a day late to post this, but I finished the novel draft on Sunday. I finished it around 6pm too, so should have had this up!

Tauntingly, I didn’t make it past the 80k. I hit 79,875 words which is hilariously and painfully close. Still, it’s the longest thing I’ve ever written.

Happy with how the whole thing came together and itching to edit it, but will set it aside for a while yet.

The beauty of this novel is that because of it’s genre, even 50k-60k would be plenty of words, so I have lots of room for cutting and fine tuning it. It’ll be a liberating experience compared to whenever I looked at my last novel.

The plan is to edit it over my Christmas break. Then when my second semester starts up I’ll get my tutors to look at it. Edit it some more. Then send it out to ages. Whoop Whoop!

Update: Novel ProgressionS

Another little visit to update you guys on what’s going on!

Last week I had my mid term ‘break’ for college. I say ‘break’ because I used that entire week to get a serious portion of a novel first draft out of the way. Taking my tutors’ advice on board, I’m starting a new novel to apply what we’ve learned a lot easier than trying to flog a dead horse (i.e. an old novel).

Of the seven days off, I wrote on six of them. The Saturday was marred by a football match that took up 9am-6pm and left me exhausted and degraded (we lost miserably!), so no writing was happening.

In those seven days, the highest word count for a single day was 12,656 on the second day. The lowest (not including Saturday) was 5,018 on the fourth day. So as you can guess, it was quite the productive week! I got just over 50,000 words of the draft done in that week alone.

This week has been a bit slower because classes started back up and as a result of both them and the hours of traveling to/from them, I’m quite shattered. I also spent a few nights in my girlfriend’s house in an entirely different county, which meant that I didn’t get much time to work on it. So far I’ve 5,000 done between two days of this week.

I’ve class tomorrow so not sure how much I’ll get done, so whatever I do I’m happy with. Then it’s a serious weekend session to hopefully either get it finished or get it damn close. I’m looking for 15,000+ between Saturday and Sunday.

The novel is definitely going to end up my longest piece to date and I estimate it to come in around the 80,000 mark. Exciting stuff! I’ll finally have a draft that I can actually cut from, rather than fearing it’s already too thin to work. And as I’m writing a YA Fantasy, I could really get away with 50,000-100,000. So I’ve plenty of words to cut!

I’ll pop in whenever the draft gets finished (hopefully Sunday) to let you know the final tally. Stay frosty!

Touching Base

So it’s nearly a month since I’ve posted here… wowzers! Time really is flying lately. Here’s a quick update and how everything’s going:

  • I’m nearly halfway through my first semester (already?!) of my MA and it’s by far the greatest thing I’ve done so far in my life. I’ve learned so much already and my writing has already improved by leaps and bounds. I also now have tools to actually edit something.
  • And to celebrate this new ability to edit, I’m starting something new! For one of my modules we have to submit the opening chapter of a new novel. I’m taking advantage of the opportunity (and inspiration of the year) to revisit and old YA Fantasy story and finally get it down. It’s one that’s stuck with me for four years and had three starts so far, each time stumbling around the 20k mark due to time constraints and something not clicking. Taking what I’ve learned so far, I finally found the missing ingredient.
  • I’m also currently planning and rejigging a short story to enter into a competition or two within the next few months. It’ll be accompanied by poem(s) which I’ll be getting one of my tutors to help me with.
  • It’s my birthday soon, so I’ll be getting another chilled out day with my girlfriend to keep me breathing. The course is so incredibly intense that I’m running on blind energy at this point.
  • After this new week I’ll have a ‘reading week’ which may or may not count as a break. Sometimes they like packing on extra work for this week, as it’s a week without classes. If that’s the case I’ll be super busy. If they give us the week off to catch up and such, I’m capitalizing on it to thump out a big chunk of the novel’s first draft. If I’m free of new assignments, I’ll be setting the ambitious goal of 40k for that one week.

That’s the majority of news that comes to mind. Lots going on outside of it, but that’d be the more interesting stuff! I’ll probably post again after that reading week to let you guys know how I got on, then disappear until the Christmas break!

Hope you’re all doing swell and enjoying yourselves. I still get random views most days, so if anyone is coming back in hope of a post and leaving disappointed… sorry! And thanks for coming back in hope! When this year is over I’ll be back for good. And I’ll probably be posting weekly when I get my Christmas break, so keep those eyes peeled!

More Than Expected

I’m into the second week of my Creative Writing MA course and it’s a hell of a lot more intense than I anticipated. I’d heard that a lot of people struggle to maintain a full time job on top of it (which I don’t have), but I hoped that was just a general saying.

Nope.

I only have four classes a week (plus a peer workshop) and yet I’m packed with work. Reading, writing, critiquing, planning, and more… I’m certainly run off my feet. And on top of that I’ve got football and part time work, which is taking up all my free time at the minute.

In saying that, I’m by no means upset by this. I’m loving the course despite my exhaustion. It’s great to look forward to my classes and to enjoy doing all of the work. The only thing is that I need to figure out how to squeeze in my own writing around all this. Since starting I haven’t worked on my novel, but I’m hoping that next week that’ll get back on track.

Blogging, as you’ve seen, will be very infrequent, but I’ll update when I can!

The Start (And Changes to the Blog)

In approximately six hours time I’m getting up to head into college for the first day of my MA in Creative Writing. It starts with an introductory session and then they were unclear if classes will proceed for the remainder of the day or not, so I’m going to be taking it as it comes.

The next twelve months or so (my final piece is due in August 7th) will be dedicated to writing. It’s my hope to come out of this course with a much better grip on editing, as well as an improvement on my sense of voice, along with all the other techniques and wonder they will help us develop. I’ll be taking full advantage of the help on offer so that I’ll have one of my novels entirely finished by the end of it, final edited draft and all. Ideally, I want to get a novel to that stage by March, but we’ll see how it turns out with the workload for the course.

The one problem with this course is that as an MA, it’ll be very time consuming. One of my tutors from last year did this course and she said that a lot of people had to stop working their job for the year. While I’m currently unemployed (apart from the 5-week work stints with the college job), I want to make and save money as much as I can. So I’ll hopefully be able to find some part time work or some means to earn a bit of cash on the side. I’ll be investing more time into Fiverr.com since I’ve earned money from it so far, albeit not that much at all. A massive $16, to be precise.

I’ll be dedicating a lot of my time to these things, using the spare time around it to fit in my football and time with my girlfriend. It’s going to be a heck of a busy year!

I’m going to continue daily posts on my progress on this blog, but now it’ll be more than just about my writing. It’ll be about my overall progress throughout the year and things I’ve learned (writing, working, life, money, and so on). Hopefully it’ll prove more interesting for you guys!

Now I must try get some sleep as it’s 1am and I’m up at 7… I’m quite excited though now that it’s so close, so it’ll be hard to settle. Here’s hoping this is the start to what I’ve always wanted!

End of the Run, Start of Another

Well, it went a good while, but my streak has ended. I hit 26 consecutive days of hitting my writing goal (discounting the days that made it impossible to write) and I’ve officially hit a block.

A personal issue arose this week, nothing major but enough to cause a stagger. It’s turned into the much needed resting point though after a lot of hard work and on Monday it’ll start all over again because that’s when my college course FINALLY starts back.

Coincidentally, this happened at the exact time that I wrote myself into a corner, so the time away has actually helped work around it. And by work around it, I mean avoid it… Despite my aim to not do it, I’m going to jump forward in the draft and leave out a bit of the story until a later point. It’s not a massive skip though; at most it’s a jump of a chapter and a half. It should propel me out of the stump and set me flying again.

I’m not sure how this will work with my course, since I don’t really know what its layout is or how heavy the workload is, so my updates for the next days (apart from tomorrow) might actually be interesting to read!

I’m equally itching and dreading to start my course. I’ve no idea what the expected standard is. As of yet, I’ve still never finished anything (edits included). I’ve never even fully finished a short story. I also am yet to enter any sort of writing competition or submit anything to a paper/magazine/etc. So in many ways my writing has been untested and I’ve no idea where my level is at, so I’m heading in feeling quite vulnerable. Okay… incredibly vulnerable.

Still, the year is all about making me a better writer, so I’ll be diving into it and learning as much as I can. But oh me oh my am I terrified!

Day 26: A Good ‘Un

Yesterday in my post I mentioned that I’m still aiming for 1,000 with my goals but I’d be happy with 1,300 for the next three days as that’ll end me on 50,000 for the start of the weekend. Well, today I got a little over 1,300 – success!

The characters and plot are starting to really take shape and over the last 24 hours I’ve learned a lot more about the novel’s themes and the likes. It’s a really interesting process because I started this novel off of a creepy idea and I just ran with it, based off of two pages of notes that I did up at 4am. This is quite the contrast from my last thriller, which had at least a year (two I think, can’t fully remember) of development in my mind.

I’m not saying that this way is better or worse, but it’s certainly a cool experience to learn so much with the first draft. I learned a lot whilst writing the draft for the last thriller, but I think having such a blank canvas as I do with this one allows for an even greater freedom. It also means I’ve a nicer starting point for editing as I know a lot of bits that need to be weaved in – e.g. my main character is a cripple and that’s forgotten from Chapter Two onward. I realised this towards the end of Chapter Two and thought I’d just keep going without him being a cripple, as it’d just slow the pacing down (pardon the pun…). I can thread it in during the edits as it’s essential to the story, but having to pause to work in his difficulty in movement every time there’s action would certainly make my writing speed a lot slower!

I still don’t know how long this is going to end up being, but it’s safe to say it’ll be my longest piece yet. It’s usually clear when you get to the last 15,000 words of a draft because it’s the conclusion-ey piece of the story. I’m quite a way off from that. If I were to take a guess, I think this’ll hit about 85,000-90,000 words. I don’t know the ending yet (usually that’s where I start!) so it’s hard to know. I have the penultimate moment planned and it is gooooooooood! Will just have to see where it goes from there.

Tomorrow I’ve got another work shift and then football training, so it’ll be late home with a lot of exhaustion and a nice writing challenge ahead of me. Hi-Ho Silver, away!