Showing posts with label novella. Show all posts
Showing posts with label novella. Show all posts

Monday 18 April 2016

The Rewrite Resumes...

Finally I can return to the second draft rewrite.

I'm grateful to Patsy Collins for guest posting last week while I was very busy with essential work for the writers club...

Anyway, to draft 2. I know it's advised that you read the whole manuscript through and make notes, but I'm not doing that for this draft.

I've got numerous minor and major changes to do, and the overview of the story in my head. And if I'm not sure of something I do have my chapter outlines with any changes that were made marked in.

The second half of the story was clearer, mainly because I had discovered more about my characters, their motivations, their reasoning, and the emotions and reactions that were lacking in some of the earlier chapters.

So the aim for draft 2 is: to take one chapter at a time, read it, make notes. Where I know a scene is missing I'll write it in, and deal with the points made in the notes.
The next drafts...

Spread throughout are various comments in brackets-research x. They're minor things and I've already found the information I need on most of them.

Once I've reached the end of draft 2, there will be a short break and then the complete read through and more note-making.

How I approach draft 3 is for deciding when I get to it.

I know what works for me to produce a 1st draft. Now I need to discover how draft 2 works...

image courtesy of Stuart Miles &

Sunday 16 August 2015

The Fruits of Summer...

It's fortunate you can't see the traces of purple on my fingers, but if you could then you might realise I've been picking Blackberries.

Blackberry season...
As I grew up in the Garden of England- Kent, I was used to seeing hop-fields and fruit being grown and picked, especially in the summer when it was common to go and pick Strawberries when the farmers had fruit crops to get in.

Wild brambles grew in lots of overgrown places and country roads, and it was common to pick the ripe fruit on a country walk. It was then made into a pie when we got home, or if there was enough, jam.

This was probably being done for centuries...

This year has been very good for fruit, and this winter our garden will need sorting as we've got self-seeded Redcurrants and a Holly growing up among the Tayberries- a raspberry/blackberry cross.

Of course we're growing cultivated varieties of the fruit, rather than the wilder fruit that would have grown in hedgerows a couple of centuries ago.

One of my research points for my Nottinghamshire story, is what would be growing in the rectory's kitchen garden in 1802?

My heroine, Sarah, defends herself with her spade when confronted by the hero's unpleasant cousin, and I immediately thought what would it have looked like, and could she have hefted the spade in the way I describe?

I found some images for American garden tools of the time and also have a history of country house gardens- somewhere- that I can search; but I realised that living in a village attached to a smallish estate, there would likely have been a carpenter, and even if not there, then there would be a blacksmith in another village who could make a suitable sized spade section to attach to a shaft and handle just right for my heroine's needs...

There may perhaps be a small rose somewhere, grown from a cutting given to the previous occupant of the rectory as a kind gesture.

But it certainly won't look like the scented roses in my garden that seem to have gone crazy this year- these were opening when we got the heavy rain Friday night...

blown Roses...

And the Hawthorn has
ripening berries...

Monday 27 July 2015

Almost There...

It was a busy weekend, as I was trying to get everything still to do for Serena's website and remaining social media links completed.

Although I published Serena's first proper blog post on Saturday and it could be read via my links, it wasn't showing up on the blog page I'd created. Clearly I hadn't done something I should have and I couldn't see what it was... :(

After consulting fellow writers: Patsy Collins and poet, Liz Brownlee who both have Wordpress sites, I finally found what I needed to do. It did mean changing pages and moving text, but finally this evening everything went where it should- and worked.

Tomorrow I'll start the domain mapping process to apply Serena's domain name - and pay the annual fee for doing so.

Meanwhile, Serena now has a Facebook page to go with the  existing Twitter account...

My pictures from my trip to Bath last year have begun to be helpful. Beside my lady with a fan, you will probably be seeing the dancing figures- these were on the wall in the Fashion Museum and represent the different positions in a dance- sadly I didn't make a note of what the dance was...

All I need now is to get on with the Nottinghamshire novella/potential short novel.

I've probably got another three to four chapters left of my contemporary romance to write, and as soon as that draft is completed, I'll be returning to Hugh and Sarah's historical romance story.

I'm amazed how much I've managed in a little over a week. And now that's done I can concentrate on writing, knowing the support framework is in place and there when I need it...

How to dance...

Sunday 19 July 2015

Novella or Novel- What's the Length?

I doubt there can ever be a truly definitive answer to what it the actual length of a novella or a novel because there are so many variables: market, genre and publisher's requirements (such as Mills and Boon who have set lengths for certain categories).

So I was interested to read an article in this weekend's Arts/Books section of the Independent online, about The Novella Award. Their shortlist was announced on the 17th July, and the entries to this year's competition had to be between 20,000 and 40,000 words.

Perhaps the question is when does a novella become a novel?

The My Weekly Pocket Novels are now 50,000 words, though the version from The People's Friend is only 42,000 words. So both these are higher than the 40,000 mentioned above. But neither would be considered novel length by a mainstream publisher.

Perhaps we need to start using 'mini novel' for those word counts that fit between 40-80,000 words.

The writers of the past didn't have these issues; they went to both extremes.

'Animal Farm' by George Orwell has 29,966 words, so although it is actually novella length everyone thinks of it as a novel- probably because at the time it was written it was a novel!

While Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone With The Wind' was a large novel of 418,053 that could rival some of the Game of Thrones novels now available.

You can find some interesting facts on the wide range of word lengths on the Electric Lit website, in the post titled Infographic: Word Counts of Famous Books. (The figures from the above titles came from here.)

No doubt in a few years these figures will change and we'll still be uncertain about what length is a novella, and the minimum for a novel.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Which is a novel and which a novella?

Thursday 9 July 2015


Very pleased that the temperature has gone done to nearer normal for this time of year. Last week it was a struggle to do anything, even writing was difficult.

I took a picture of the moon last Thursday night as I wanted to catch the polluted tinge that hung across it, but it was too low. By the time it was high enough it had gone above the that layer so looked a lot cleaner.

Early July Moon...
This week has been good so far. I've managed to get a couple of hours to write each day this week so I've added about 1,600 words.

It may not seem a lot but as I don't touch type that was a big improvement for me.

It's always difficult to write in the summer when it's sunny outside and there's lots of things you need to do- the plants need water and the grass needs cutting again to name but a few.

At least I'm on the downward path to the end of my current work in progress. Okay it's still only a first draft stage, but I can already see where I need to insert scenes, and make changes in the second draft.

At the moment my brain seems to be juggling thoughts on each of my three projects.

My Dorset novel has a synopsis and first four chapters. I needed to give myself some time to work on a few of the characters, to round them out a little. It's been a couple of years- longer than I intended- but now I know what works for me, I'm looking forward to getting on with it.

My Nottinghamshire novella has a complete first draft and is waiting for a complete read through before I start the second draft. I've pinpointed a few things that need changing, major and minor.

Then there's my current story, making steady progress.

There's at least another four ideas in varying stages, but fortunately those characters aren't hassling me.

(I've got a Pinterest board for each of the three stories, and adding to when I have time, but they're remaining secret.)

I'm also putting together the writing session for the writers' club next Wednesday- putting names to faces and creating bios. Hopefully some of the writers will use them as inspiration for a story...

Plus the final thing I need to do is get my entry sorted for this year's Festival of Romance, New Talent Award 2015. You can read more about it over on the website.

I'm going to enter the first chapter of my Dorset novel. It's an historical romance so fits within the specified 'romantic novel (of any kind)'. I just need to look at the word count of my first chapter as there's a maximum 2,500 word count.

So there's lots to do over the next few months.

Thursday 8 January 2015

Trophy Presentation...

If you read my post about Awards Night early last month, you may recall that it was the announcement that I'd won the Nottingham Writers' Club, Mary Street Shield- the official title is 'The Romantic Novelist of the Year'...

I'm grateful that I was only required to submit a synopsis and first three chapters and not the whole thing- as I'm still writing it!

This is the second time my name has gone onto this trophy, so it looks like writing romance is my strong point... :D

As it's a bi-annual competition I now have time to come up with a few ideas for 2016!

Anyway here's the picture from last night's meeting.

Carol Bevitt- winner of the 2014 Mary Street Memorial
Shield for a Romance Novel

Monday 23 June 2014

Memories Inspire...

I've just been posting an album, to my personal Facebook page, of some of the photos that I took in Bath last month- a few I'd previously used in my blog posts, but there are others I didn't use...

That got me thinking how often my story ideas are inspired, triggered, by visual images; or an image brings buried memories to the surface.

I admit that I am one of those annoying people who will be watching an old movie on TV and say, 'oh, this is the one where...' I'm sure you know someone like that. I apologise. :)

A lot of my photos would mean little to anyone else because they are connected to a particular idea I have, a thought about a possible scene, or a specific character. Some are just to capture how something looks.

I even have images for ideas that don't even exist yet, but something told me I needed to take a photo of it- I just put it down to how my brain works.

If I have a camera at hand, good, but if I don't then some images get stored. I don't have a photographic memory, so perhaps it's more a 'selective' memory, though perhaps we all do that...

I haven't touched my Dorset novel for over a year because I've concentrated on the novella, but I will be coming back to it soon - even if it means alternating weeks on the two stories.

I was looking through all the photos I have saved from my research trips to Dorset, and I found one particular one that I can see my hero Marcus reproducing, but I have to write the rest of the story (chapter 4 onwards) to reach that stage.

This is my husband late afternoon on Chesil Beach looking out to sea. The picture is from 2008-sadly the pixels were low on the camera I was using, so it's not as good as I'd like...

 But it does remind me of the light, and the movement
Looking out to sea on Chesil Beach...
 of the sea when the weather is calm.

Images capture a moment in time, and whenever we look at them they remind us of the past- both good and bad.

Glad to say, this is one of many happy images...

Saturday 5 April 2014

Too Many Things to Do...

My brain is getting overloaded.

The end of March beginning of April is always busy- not enough hours to do everything- and it's badly hit my writing this year.

Ideas for longer stories keep bubbling away in the background, but then they reach a point where there are enough aspects clear, so they come into my consciousness and interfere with whatever I'm working on - this time it's occurred with two different story ideas, each set in a different time period too...

I'd already gathered some of the random notes together on one of the stories, but now the creative part of my brain is throwing plot bunnies here and there- usually at a time I don't need them and can't deal with them...

I'd started reading the novella first draft and making notes, but can't do that properly while I'm dealing with the other characters and scenarios in my head wanting attention. I need to concentrate on my hero and heroine in this story, not get contamination from these other characters.

I haven't finished the final editing, on the two short stories I intended submitting, either!

Then there's my trip to Bath, I still haven't sorted that out.

Equally there are a lot of other bits and pieces that need sorting to stop chaos taking over life at home...

As it's now the two week Easter break for schools/colleges here, I'm going to take some time out and organise my trip to Bath, then tackle the short stories and get them out the way. Hopefully that will help a little.

Creativity can be as much a curse as a joy sometimes...

So how do you cope when your mind is buzzing with ideas?

Saturday 22 March 2014

Almost Ready to Start the 2nd Draft...

I just have to finish minor editing ready to submit 2 short stories, then I can begin reading the 1st draft (D1)

It's been a month since I finished, and I probably could have left it to settle for a few more weeks, but printing out those last 2 chapters (that had been waiting for the new printer to be bought and installed) started my brain whirring.

I really shouldn't have started reading them!

So this coming week I'll start the reading- and making notes as I go.

I asked friends for any helpful tips, and I'm certainly going to be using the red and green pen idea they suggested. Red for typos and grammatical errors, green for changes, where inserts are needed. I may also use a blue pen for anything that falls outside of these areas.

The second half of the D1 was much more rounded than the first half - I realised this as I was writing. I suppose by then I'd learnt a lot more about my characters and the plot line had become more fixed; also the changes I made in event order fitted better than how I'd originally imagined them, so the writing flowed better.

By the last few chapters my hero's home was staffed by a small group of servants who weren't there before, and a couple had distinct parts to play. Obviously they will have to appear as appropriate in earlier chapters, but I do know exactly where one will fill a suitable role.

I know that this 2nd draft is going to be as much of a learning process as the first was.

I've not only been discovering how my mind puts a longer story together, but also how to make the best of the time I have to write...

If you have any insights on the 2nd draft process, I'd enjoy hearing them.

Friday 21 February 2014

The 1st Draft is Done!

Yes, the 1st draft of the novella is now complete.

While I've completed short stories and flash fiction, I've never actually completed one longer piece of work...

I actually started this first draft in June 2011. But there was a big break in there while I was getting over the bus accident, so I've only been working on it intensively for the last 12-15 months.

Obviously putting the word count on my blog has kept me in line!

It's also been a learning experience. Previously, I'd tried to do too much at once with my other longer projects, so thought I'd try the general planning and skeleton 1st draft approach.

It worked for me.

I did character sheets for my main characters - but I've discovered more about them during the writing process too.

Each chapter had a general outline, so I knew where I thought incidents and important events occurred- even then I found that a few things changed order, or I needed an extra chapter here and there for scenes I hadn't foreseen, but realised I needed.

As I went along I made a note of anything I needed to research, or query for the correct term, descriptions, or form of address.

And I went through doubts about my abilities - and sanity!

Yesterday (Thursday) I finished my first draft at 29,005 words in 17 chapters.

The same day I received the answers from the official office that deals with Baronetcy's. It's taken a while because it seems everyone understood their place in the inheritance stakes in the early 19th century (when the novella is set) so my questions had to be referred up to someone else who knew the definitive answers- the Garter King of Arms.

(I may tell you about the Baronetcy system another time.)

The good news, is that I won't need to make big changes to the plot/sub-plot.

The bad news is that I have to provide my antagonist with another reason/s for what he does. But I can think of a few things that would qualify in Edward's case...

Otherwise it's minor adjustments in certain scenes.

Next I need to go through and list the research points/queries, so I have everything I need to know for the 2nd draft...

I'm going to have a short break from the novella while I get on with sending out a few short stories- they just need minor revisions, but have been waiting long enough.

Also it's the Romance Trophy competition at the writers' club this year, so I have a synopsis and first three chapters of another romance to get on with for that- the deadline is the end of June.

Now I now know what works for me:

  • Writing for an hour, three hours or anything in-between for as many days as I can each week.
  • Not worrying if something isn't quite right, or I don't know the answer to my query immediately.
  • Listening to my characters and what's working well - and what is never going to work.

Fingers crossed for the next draft...

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Now to Writing the Love Scene...

I know I could leave this until later, but I write sequentially, whether it's a first or last draft...

So I'm now at that stage where my hero, Hugh, has resolved his conflict, and Sarah has remembered enough to make sense of the past, so getting the pair of them together shouldn't be difficult, should it?

The storm has made it easier to create the opportunity, but why do two confident people then suddenly turn shy!

I know some writers, and readers, prefer the action to stop at the bedroom door. I've no problem with that.

I think it really is about the characters and how they feel. If you know your characters well then you'll know what is right for them.

I've never had any doubts about my current couple in the novella, they've clearly been attracted to one another from the moment they met again; and as their relationship has progressed, on the few occasions they've been able to kiss you could see the lighted fuse slowly heading for the powder keg...

But give them the opportunity to be alone together and for Hugh to propose...

I really can't blame either of them for this temporary hiccup, as they've both got issues that they've had to deal with. And their story is set in a time when there were moral expectations for young women.

When I went back to the scene today they were making progress, but I think they will only let the reader stay for a while before they demand privacy; they'll tell me when enough is enough...

As the final part of tying up the past has still to be finished to reach the happy ever after (HEA) it will only need one more chapter to complete the draft.

I know I said Chapter 16 was going to be the last one, but I was wrong, it will definitely be Chapter 17. :D

I've no doubt that when I begin the second draft and put in the missing scenes, some of the current chapters will change number. I may even end up with a couple more than I have now...

Monday 22 July 2013

I've Ground to a Halt...

Yes, I know I've been missing for weeks- sorry.

I didn't realise how tired out I was until my brain went on strike and I began sleeping late on a weekday- very unusual for me...

This year I've been able to do more concentrated writing than I have before- at least 15,000 words on the novella since mid-January. It may not seem a lot, but it's the most I've written in six months before.

(I just need to get my busy weeks organised better, so I can get a few writing sessions in...)

As soon as normality returns I'll get the last two chapters of the first draft completed, and then the really hard work starts with the 2nd draft- putting flesh on the bones of the basics that I've been concentrating on so far.

There are a few 'information needed' queries that I need to delve into, so I'm making a list to work through over the remaining summer holidays.

I'm thinking about going to this year's Festival of Romance (November) but haven't actually mentioned it to my OH yet- who will have to hold the domestic fort if I do go...:-)

As my short story writing has finally improved, I'm going to make an effort to write a few more before the year ends.

I also have to catch up on my reading- both paperback and e-books.

Serena is still lacking a website, but she does now have an e-mail address. So I have to make some decisions there too.

So I may have ground to a halt in one way, I realise that the 'to do' list is building up... :-)

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Happy Launch Day - One Word Anthology...

Last November when the e-book version of the One Word Anthology was released I officially crept into existence.

Serena Lake has been evolving for many years - and was originally going to be called Persephone Lake, but writers have to be practical and Serena Lake fits better on a book cover!

Actually Serena is a little more earthy than Persephone. And Serena sounds like an historical romance writer too.

The two, 200 word stories in the One Word Anthology are both moment in time pieces.

In 'After Heat' for the word 'Heat' one of my characters in waiting, Jago, is sharing a moment in time with the woman he is falling in love with- now considering he is a typical alpha male who just seems to have women falling over themselves to get his attention, that moment is quite significant.

I just have to discover how they reach that stage...and write the rest of it. :-)

The second story 'Surprises' for the word 'Shift' was a little bit of a struggle.

The only idea that shift brought to mind was the underwear type - (I'd been studying historic costume for a different character at that time). I had this scene of a cabin, but the size of a cabin (the old traditional sailing ship cabins not modern liner cabins) wouldn't work for how I saw the idea, so adjustments in location had to be made and by being flexible it solved the problem of how to keep the reader- and Jason guessing...

Jago and Jason are both in the queue for their stories to be written...

Now Serena ( otherwise known as Carol) is working on a novella set in 1802, so hopefully the next time you see the name Serena Lake on a book cover, it will be for this story.

But I'll always be grateful that I was able to step out into the world in the One Word Anthology by the Talkback Writers...


Tuesday 28 May 2013

In the Mood for Short Stories...

After three days of lovely sunshine and warmth it's back to cool and wet weather- it's also half term so everyone is around and there's the accompanying noise that goes with it, so the novella has gone on hold for a week...

I have a couple of short story ideas that I want to work on - jotting down points and character notes doesn't require quiet (fortunately).

I've got a few months worth of Woman's Weekly Fiction Specials to read too.

But I have a deadline for one story for Wednesday of next week.

At the writers' club we have a quarterly prose competition and the Spring prose deadline is next week.

Now for this story the judge has asked we include 3 things- a tin of treacle, the weather and a bird. I have been pondering these items for the last 10 weeks and coming up with various ideas, but nothing was quite right, until the sunny weather arrived the other day and my brain went into overdrive and began creating a back story for my character...

Having had further thoughts this morning I can see it has potential to be (another) longer story, but I think I can rein this one in and keep it within the maximum length- 2,000 words.

Before I go I just want to put in a mention for Rosemary Gemmell's new novella that is launched today 'The Aphrodite Touch' as Romy Gemmell  and published by Tirgearr Publishing, an Irish independent.

Do pop in to Rosemary's Reading and Writing blog to help her celebrate, and for a chance to win a free e-copy...

Wednesday 27 March 2013

A Temporary Halt in Progress...

I've been making steady progress on my novella but have now come to a temporary halt.


Because my floppy disk reader has gone astray - I know one of the family borrowed it, but can't remember who, and I know they'll all deny they ever had it, or if they did they gave it back.

If they'd given it back then I would have known where it was!!!

When I first got the idea for the novella I had a scene in my head, which I wrote down, and saved for later. At the time I was still using floppy disks as my computer tower didn't have a Cd/DVD drive.

Now I intended to transfer everything over, but just didn't get round to it, and yes, you've guessed it, the scene that I saved onto the floppy (at least it's on one of them) is now needed to refer to...

This week I've been dealing with a lot of introspection with my heroine, Sarah. She's at a turning point both emotionally and mentally, which makes writing tiring. Plus I'm having to jiggle the content on a couple of chapters around because of how the story has actually developed around the scenes in my mind.

No doubt some of Sarah's soul searching will eventually be edited out, but this missing scene belongs here at the point I have now reached in my manuscript. I know I'll rewrite the scene anyway, but the details are being elusive.

The version on the floppy is from about 8 years ago, and my brain seems to work like this: once it's typed onto the screen, and saved, the details go into brain deep storage- perhaps my memory just deletes them entirely because it knows the information has been recorded somewhere, so it's no longer in stand-by.

Weird idea, I know. But that's how it seems to me... :-)

With Easter week almost here and the family being around, my opportunities for concentrated writing will be brief, so I think I better make sure I get these floppy disks sorted, so as soon as my normal routine can be restarted, I'll be able to get on with the story.

So my total so far this month, 4, 553 words, but I have to admit that 200 of those were for a flash fiction piece for the March, One Word Challenge on the writers-online Talkback forum. And the character in that story has more tales to tell but that's for another day- they're contemporary rather than historical...

The 5,000 words a month remains unfulfilled, but it continue to be an on-going target. Smiley

smiley from:

Sunday 3 March 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy- Making Plans...

Yes, it's Sunday night and I've not blogged for a few days.

Life is getting so busy that I've decided to reduce my regular three posts a week, to two regular slots.

I've been missing from Twitter too, so I'm going to try for a drop-in there a few times a week, just for ten minutes...

I have to admit it's easier to pop into Facebook, during a quick break, and link up with other writers, than on Twitter where the stream of Tweets is constant...

As for all the other tasks I have to accomplish this month, I think I better make a list and put it within eye range so I don't forget to tackle them too.

Even reading has taken a step back, so I may have to set myself a target there too. :-)

The aim for this coming week is for the next blog post to be posted by Tuesday evening, with writing time slots Tuesday and Wednesday for sure.

March is going to be the start of a new routine for me. There will be hiccups I'm sure, but I have to make changes now if I want to get the novella completed and ready for either sending out, or e-publishing myself early next year- if not this year.

I've a few longer projects that I want to make progress on this year too, so I can work on them intensively in 2014...

All those characters and plots waiting...

Each new idea has to go to the back of the queue, and there are at least half a dozen firm ideas awaiting attention. It's good, but I need to be strict with myself.

And don't even mention the cobwebs...

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles and

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Reaching for Targets...

Word count targets...
Well my mini target of a minimum 500 words a week on my work in progress - which I started in January - has been working really well and even on difficult weeks I'm exceeding that target.
In fact this month I almost managed 5,000 words, but have fallen a little short by less than 250 words.

I'll be continuing the minimum word count each week, but my new challenge will be to write 5,000 words in March.

I'm now at a stage where not only am I discovering information about my heroine that I didn't foresee when I was doing my character sheets last year, but elements within specific chapters (that I had outlined) have needed shifting around a little too.

When the idea for the novella first came to me all those years ago, I wrote two different scenes, both involving my heroine Sarah, and having written one of those two scenes earlier this month, and reached the other scene today, I know I must find those original pieces- they captured something that I can't grasp now, but know is needed for these scenes.

So I'll be looking through old floppy disks this weekend- I have a plug-in floppy drive fortunately- and searching DVDs for the elusive words...

There's no more school/college holidays until Easter, so I have just under 4 undisturbed weeks to reach my new target...

Do you find setting yourself targets a help, or a hindrance?

Image courtesy of Vaximilian and

Thursday 21 February 2013


I'm at the stage in the novella where I need to use a flashback.

I've always been ambivalent about flashbacks. Done well they can help a story; done badly, they will ruin it.

As I'm only on the first draft, it doesn't matter if I don't get it right the first time- that's what further drafts and editing are for... :-)

I'm sure I'm not the only writer who has weak spots, so yes, flashbacks are one of mine.

Now fortunately I know a writer, A J Humpage, who is good at explaining how to use flashbacks effectively, so I looked up her blog 'All Write - Fiction Advice' for the post on the subject. Read it here.

Found some useful pointers in avoiding getting flashbacks wrong, here, at Fiction Notes.

So next week I will be attempting the short flashback scene that leads to secrets being revealed...

Any advice on successful flashbacks?

Or any thoughts on the subject?

Then please leave a comment. I enjoy reading, and responding to them. :-) 

Sunday 17 February 2013


This week is half term in the UK, so that means my writing time will be severely eaten into, but I hope to keep to my minimum writing target anyway.

Today I had one of those moments when a whole scene started playing in my head and there was no quiet to concentrate, the computer was in use by another family member, and everyone kept asking questions as I was desperately trying to hold onto the scene and stop it fading away, until I could get to my pen and notebook.

I lost some of the first bits of dialogue, but the important elements of the scene hung around long enough for me to write the basics...

It was actually the end of the novella, which has only been a vague point in the future. I knew there was a happy ending, and the big revelation that leads up to it, but hadn't been too concerned about it.

But clearly my brain has been working in the background anyway, and the content feels right.

Now I just have to get on with the bit in the middle... :-)

Now Blogger seems to have sorted out the accessing the elements, of the layout in my browser, issue. I am going to finish updating the blog.

So you may see some different styles being tried out in the coming week, while I decide what I like and what works for me.

Then I will have to start getting Serena's site sorted out...

Monday 4 February 2013

The Hazards of Writing About the Past...

It's Monday so it must be catch-up day.

I really don't know where the weekend went to, but I didn't get my regular blog post done, or my word count totals for the week recorded.

Glad to say I managed to exceed my minimum word count again last week, but it was slightly down on the previous weeks totals- only 815 words this time.

I'm one of those writers who needs quiet, with the minimum of interruptions- if any, when I'm writing.

Sadly my first session last week came to an abrupt end when after two phone calls, I was disturbed by music so loud I could actually hear the lyrics clearly. It was permeating through the walls from my next-door neighbour, and that was enough to drag me out of 1802 completely...

Every writer has their personal writing routine. I need coffee- and often toast- to get me settled.

I keep a log of every writing session I do. So I have one just for the novella, another for short stories, and another for my novel. Before I start any writing I note down the session, date and time started, and the intended work.

Then I read through the previous chapter, make minor adjustment, and make a note of anything major that occurs to me as I go along. So by the time I get to where I left off, from the previous writing session, I'm 'in the zone'... :-)

The best way to describe it, is as if I'm an observer to the scene I'm writing. I can step back a little and decide that, say, a piece of dialogue or an action would be better done this way, rather than that way, but I'm still tied into the scene in my mind, aware that the 21st century world is still going on just over my shoulder, but in the scene in my mind I'm in 1802...

I can get up to look at a reference book to confirm something, or go and make another cup of coffee, but I don't lose that link, an invisible cord between my characters and myself.

Often I don't realise how much time has gone by, until I get to a stage where my concentration wavers, or I start to feel hungry- you can use a lot of energy without realising it. Once I reach that stage my characters start to slip away from me, and I know it's time to stop.

I save my work, and if I've completed a section then I'll print it out. I'll see how many words I've done in the session and make a note on my time sheet, and the time I've finished at.

Within 5-10 minutes all the modern sounds of the surrounding world start to consciously register again and I'm totally back in 2013...

But it really isn't a good idea for anyone to ask me a question about anything, or ring me, until I'm totally back in the present.

If you write about the past, have you found anything that helps you with any stage of the process?

Current Word Count 

Work In Progress
image courtest of Salvatore Vuono and

Total for January: 3,084