Tag Archives: discussion of writing

Shoot for the Moon 2017 Challenge – November Roundup

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Mhairi Simpson, and I, once again, set ourselves a series of ambitious writing-related goals when 2017 was only a couple of days old. This has become something of a ritual, because over the past several years I have found it so very helpful to set out my targets for the year and then at the end of every month to hold myself accountable for these targets. Although that has slipped – due to being ill, I didn’t get around to writing my ‘Shoot for the Moon’ article for October.
How have I got on with my writing, reading and blogging targets now we are nearly through the year?

Rewrite Miranda’s Tempest
Complete my rewrite of Miranda’s Tempest in response to some very detailed advice on how to improve it by an agent during the submission process.
If you’ve been following this one, you’ll know I sent Miranda’s Tempest back to the agent after a rewrite. She sent back more notes and helpful advice on how I could further improve it. This is such a help, but as I’ve been busy sorting out Dying for Space and working on the blog tour, I hope to be able to return to this during the Christmas holidays.

Continue with the courses at Northbrook
Continue to run the Creative Writing courses at Northbrook Metropolitan College.
I have the course written for the coming term What Is the Time and Is It Raining? Setting and Why It Matters and have photocopied all the course notes. I just have to write up the Scheme of Work and lesson plans.

Write at least 100 reviews for my blog during 2017
I hope to continue to read and review at least 100 books, with at least 24 being by women authors previously unknown to me as part of the Discovery Challenge, thanks to Joanne Hall’s post. I also would very much like to get more of my To Be Read pile read and reviewed, so will have another go at the Tackling my TBR Pile this year with the aim of reading at least 30 books during the year from this teetering stack.
During November, I read and reviewed 11 books. This brought my yearly total of books read by the end of the month to 164. Book of the month was Mother of Eden by Chris Beckett. I haven’t yet sat down and worked out exactly how many reviews I’ve written, but I know this target was achieved back in September.

Continue teaching TW
Continue delivering the customised syllabus we have managed to find and devise in order to meet Tim’s specific learning requirements.
Last term was epic – we managed to complete the filming of Tim’s script Hoodwinked 3: This Time It’s Personal by the end of November, which was an amazing achievement considering the cast numbered 25 with 13 songs and locations ranged from the seafront and pier at Bognor, to the museum. Watching Tim rise to all the pressures and deadlines that came with such an ambitious project has been wonderful.

Continue to improve my fitness
I attend weekly Fitstep and Pilates classes to improve my fitness and regain the strength and stamina I lost after a decade of chronic lower back pain.
And this has been a car crash! I’ve only attended three sessions in last term. Hopefully I’ll be able to return to the routine in the new year. Ditto going for walks with Himself – we simply haven’t had the time or inclination. Now that he is back on track, hopefully things will get back to normal…

Overall, November was a busy but successful month. I am aware that I have been feeling very tired and rather frayed, but the constant uncertainty and resulting insecurity also played its part in that. Now things are on a more stable footing, hopefully I’ll feel more energised and positive.

ANNDDD…

Between the Bindings is promoting Dying for Space

ANNDDD…

Writers and Authors is publishing an article by yours truly entitled ‘My Protagonist and her Point of View’ about the issues I confronted while writing about my main character, who features in the Sunblinded series

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Sunday Post – 20th November 2016

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Sunday Post

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

This week has been a lot calmer, thank goodness. I cannot believe that there is only three more weeks to go before we break up for Christmas – where has this term gone? I received the news on Friday that both next term’s Creative Writing courses have now sufficient students to run, which is a lovely position to be at this stage in the term.

This week I resumed my Fitstep and Pilates classes after a two week break – and realised just how fast I’d lost ground in my efforts to keep fit… it was a struggle! On Thursday, my writing buddy Mhairi came over for the day and we both got plenty of writing done, as well as putting the universe right. And on Friday morning, to celebrate Himself overcoming a miserable spell at work, we treated ourselves to an outing – we went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at Chichester, then had lunch out together. I’ll be reviewing the film this coming week.

I’ve only read two books this week and one of those is a children’s book, but I’ve been working hard on my rewrite for Miranda’s Tempest and after having made a really strong start, I’ve hit the boggy mid-book bit. As I’m also making a major viewpoint change, it is slow going for the time being, until I hit the final few chapters, which I’m confident will be mostly as is.

This week I have read:
Synners by Pat Cadigan
In Synners, the line between humanity and technology is hopelessly slim. The human mind and the synnersexternal landscape have fused to the point where any encounter with ‘reality’ is incidental. Now you can change yourself to suit the machines – and all it will cost you is your freedom. And your humanity.

This award-winning cyberpunk adventure from 1992 is eerily prescient and well worth the effort of slowing my normal reading rate right down so I could fully appreciate the technical world-building. It took a while to get going, but is a satisfying, thought-provoking read and an apt reminder of why science fiction is my favourite genre.

 

Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson
clovermoonClover Moon’s imagination is her best escape from a life of hardship in poverty-stricken Victorian London. When tragedy plunges her into a world of grief, Clover realizes that everything she loved about the place she called home is gone. Clover hears of a place she could run to, but where will she find the courage – and the chance – to break free? And could leaving her family be just what she needs to find a place that really feels like home?

I love Wilson’s gritty, tender writing and this Victorian adventure about a child born into a London slum was impossible to put down once I opened it up. And for those who enjoyed Wilson’s awesome Hetty Feather series, there is a wonderful scene where Clover meets up with the indomitable Hetty. I’ll be reviewing this one in due course.

 

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 13th November 2016

Review of Songs of Seraphina by Jude Houghton

Teaser Tuesday – featuring Synners by Pat Cadigan

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of An Empire Asunder – Book 2 of The Scourwind Legacy by Evan Currie

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Friday Faceoff – The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play… featuring Storm Front – Book 1 of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Review of The Silver Tide – Book 3 of The Copper Cat series by Jen Williams

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

All the Gear and No Idea Guide to Maintaining Fitness in Wellington http://memoirsonthemove.com/maintaining-fitness-wellington/ In this enjoyable article, Jess charts her efforts to find a suitable pilates class after recently settling in New Zealand from the UK. But you don’t have to go around halfway around to world to pick up some sound practical tips if seeking a suitable exercise class.

These Words are Knives and Bridges https://jeanleesworld.com/2016/11/17/these-words-are-knives-bridges/ There are times when people who have undergone terrible experiences take the brave, generous decision to share them in all their raw messiness with rest of us. Jean is one such courageous person and I honour her for it. It doesn’t hurt that she also happens to write like an angel…

Five Fascinating Facts about John Skelton https://interestingliterature.com/2016/11/18/five-fascinating-facts-about-john-skelton/ This site is one of my favourites – and this particular article snagged my attention as John Skelton is an ancestor of mine.

That moment just before… https://photolicioux.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/that-moment-just-before/ Another favourite site – and this beautiful pic says it all.

Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.

Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2015 – November Roundup

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This was certainly an odd month… On one hand, I went down with a really nasty head cold like a sack of spanners. Try as I might I could NOT shake off the damn thing, which continued on and on moonthroughout the whole month. It pervaded my whole existence, turning my lessons – which I normally love – into a dreary trudge as I struggled with a blocked nose, temperatures and persistent sore throat. BUT on the other hand, while feeling so grim the only refuge was to get lost in writing. So I did…

• As I mentioned last month, my plans to get Running Out of Space fully formatted and self published in time for Fantasycon landed in a heap when I encountered a corrupted file and as this was my first time, I hadn’t realised it until after 3 twenty-hour days in a row trying to get it right… After returning from Fantasycon and while struggling with my cold, I wasn’t up to facing the fiddly job of formatting – yet again. So decided to put this project on the back-burner until the New Year. December is always crazy-busy with more than half the family birthdays occurring throughout the month and then there’s the small disruption of Christmas. I am not going to put myself through the madness of the run-up to Fantasycon again if I can avoid it.
Challenge – To have Running Out of Space – Sunblinded: 1 published by the end of the year. I’ve failed at this major target, but I’ve learnt so much in the process that while I won’t deny it felt like a huge defeat at the time – it isn’t the end of the world. Better by far to delay the project to ensure the book is something I’ll be proud to share with the rest of the world, than to fling it out on Amazon with major formatting issues, regarding the italicisation – which was my biggest bugbear. I’ve also decided to bring out the whole trilogy together in 2016, with, hopefully, Bloodless, the first book in the follow-up space opera crime series ready to go  at the start of 2017.

• Due to the cold and the fact the only time I felt remotely human was when sitting at the computer lost in my own world, I spent the month writing. The result was I managed to complete the first draft of Miranda’s Tempest. This is a huge deal for me. This book has been boring holes in my skull for most of the year after I screeched to a halt with it in February and hadn’t had a chance to go back to the start, work out where I went wrong and put it right. Even so, the last chapter took 4 goes before I was happy with it – and I’m still unsure whether I’ve completely pulled it off… But I do know I’m very proud of the book and think it is the best thing I’ve written so far, once I’ve completely tidied it up, of course.
I also managed a major rewrite of a space opera romp I wrote years ago and stuffed in the back of a virtual drawer. Dusting it off, I realised it wasn’t as dire as I’d recalled – in fact once I addressed my tendency to repeat all the major events three times in three different ways – the narrative and characters work very well. It was also the last time I wrote anything in third person pov and I’m also pleasantly surprised how successful it was.
Challenge – to complete Miranda’s Tempest by the end of the year. Yep. Ticked that box:). Also dusted off and edited/rewrote Unearthly Things Above, which way back when, was on DAW’s ‘seriously considered’ heap for a while after I submitted it to their slush pile. No wonder they passed on it, given how overwritten it was!

• I read 11 books and wrote 8 reviews during November, which brings my annual total to date of 100 written reviews.
Challenge – To review a minimum of 100 books during 2015. Nailed that one…

With a chunk of my teaching commitment on hold – I could not possibly risk giving the boy I tutor my monster cold – I only wrote 3,400 words on admin, my blog took just over 7,000 words. But my wordcount for writing my own work was just over 91,800 words. Yes… my jaw dropped too. I have to say that while I was certainly on a roll, it didn’t feel unduly difficult. Hopefully I won’t get that ill again for a while – but at least it wasn’t a complete bust. That now brings my yearly total to date to just over 314,000 words.