Tag Archive: camp nano


Rise and Fall

Do you ever have the feeling…no, let me start again. Have you ever been in a place where despite having good things happen to you and around you, you can’t seem to feel it?

It’s not a feeling, it’s a lack of feeling.

Of course I then recognise the lack of feeling and get mildly annoyed, but since Sunday I have been in this weird state of being.

I can’t say I like it, because quite a few positive things have been happening to me this week, and I feel completely unable to enjoy them.

Last week, I was telling you about my mishap with technology. I have managed to not only re-edit the 3,000 words that I lost to that delete key, but I have managed to reach 17,000 words overall for this month. So that’s 15 days worth of effort, over 1,000 words a day, and I certainly haven’t finished with writing for today either. I’ve even come up with some new scenes and plot that help with a big part of my book. The stuff I have in there at the moment isn’t terrible (well, it may or may not be, but I haven’t got near to the stage for beta readers yet, so it’s fine) but the stuff I come up with is much better, streamlines the plot out, and makes more sense.

botBut I don’t feel accomplished. I love writing (normally) and currently I’ve been doing lots and lots of it. This is the most I’ve written in months, and yet I can’t seem to feel anything resembling positive about it.

Being a librarian means I have ready access to books, lots of them. And I spotted a new Quick Read that had come in, a slightly autobiographical book about an author’s publishing journal. It was really positive and encouraging, with lots of examples of different people working towards their goals with her experiences of working towards her goal – getting a book published.

But this book really annoyed me, and seemed to press all the wrong button. It was too cheerful, and seemed patronising to me, and the worst bit was I could tell that I normally wouldn’t get this annoyed. It’s great to hear about other experiences, especially about a subject area I’m interested in, and a person who had the same goal as me and achieved it, or rather it should be, but I just got annoyed reading it. The bit I found most annoying was the this person started to look for agents and publishers after only writing three chapters. I’m not even going to start that part until I have finished and edited my novel about seven times over, found beta readers, then polished it some more, and I’m pretty sure more people are on my side of this fence on this one (although I would like to hear from people who go down the traditional publishing route – how much of a book (especially your first ever book) do you write before finding an agent?).

I came into a little windfall recently, and last weekend me and the partner went and ended the debate between PS$ and XBoxOne by simply buying both consoles, with a bunch of games. These are games that I have heard really good things about, and been interested in playing for a while.

But AGAIN, no joy seems to be had. I mean, sure there was that awesome bit in Halo last night where I got a gravity hammer and snuck up on a brute and murdered him with a witty one liner causing my partner to go into a fit of laughter, but unless I am right in the moment, I can’t seem to find enthusiasm. For instance, right now, I can think back to that moment but I get none of the reflected amusement, glory or happiness that I normally do when thinking back to a good moment.

I have to conclude, that it is not a good state to be in.

I can’t even put a finger on what it might be. The weather is dismal, grey and muggy, which whilst not helping, I doubt is the cause. There has been no incident that could have cause me to be upset, so it’s certainly not that. All I can think of is that for happiness to be enjoyed the most, you have to have something to compare it to, and this would certainly be that. Not so much sadness, as the lack of feeling, which in turns causes thing to annoy me.

I can only hope that it passes.

In the meantime, if you have something happy you want to share, please feel free. I find that seeing good things happen to other people can be a real mood lifter in itself.

Oh, I did forget one thing:

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I have reached 200 followers. It’s been coming for a while. I can’t enjoy it at the moment as much as I want to, but I can say Thank You. Thank you to everyone who has decided that what I write on this blog is worth some of their time to read. That is a special feeling, and when I am out of this falling phase, I shall relish it again.

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Perils of Technology

Isn’t technology great? You can type, make mistakes, have your word processor correct spell and grammar mistakes, rather than typewriters (which although are great and fun to use) require you to get it right first time. On a typewriter I would have had to have written this sentence over four…five times.

I have a usb stick, which means that I can take my story with me wherever I go, it’s always there. And most of the time, I can use it on any computer I come across.

The internet, the most glorious resources that we could ever have for research, right at the tip of our fingertips!

BUT

Sometimes technology is a butt.

A right butt.

I’m doing Camp NaNo this month, I told you all about that. On Saturday, I sat down at my computer, and I found the groove. 4,000 words were carefully pruned, edited, polished. It was a good feeling.

Yesterday, I gamed all day. It was a good day.

Today, I open up the document, I go to the place I was editing. And there’s a gap.

A huge gap.

A 4,000 word shaped gap.

I was SO annoyed.

And it’s not like I didn’t save it! I checked the meta data, it was the right time and date for when I had been editing it on Saturday. And it wasn’t a previous version. It was just gone. The only logical thing I can think happened was that after I selected the text to do my wordcount for the day, I must have accidentally hit the delete key before saving it and closing down. And I didn’t notice, which means that I saved it, and thus there is no magical CTRL + Z trick to get back all that work.

It’s a horrid feeling when you realise that you aren’t getting that work back.

But, strangely, it wasn’t all that off putting. I didn’t throw my hands up and say “bother this, let’s do something else”, I actually went back to the previous draft, got the old words, and I’ve been re-editing that section today.

So yeah, sometimes, I hate technology. Mostly I love it, but sometimes, like that hour this morning. Yeah, hate it.

Aah! July!

When did this happen?

And don’t get smart with me. I am fully aware that it happened at midnight last night, just after we had a leap second added in to account for the rate at which the earth revolves around the sun.

What I am saying, is that July has completely snuck up on me, and I am really not quite sure how that happened. I still thought it was a week or so away.

So I knew that there was a BBQ happening on July 4th I was invited to, and that that is this weekend.

I know that the little dragons are hitting the streets of Norwich on July 4th, which is also this weekend.

The Lord Mayors celebrations are happening on 4th and 5th July, this weekend.

I know that I’ve been paid for June, which must make the date after the 25th June.

All of these things I know to be true, and yet when I got into work today and looked at the date, I was still surprised. And I really have no idea why.

Maybe it’s because this now means that we are more than halfway through the year. Seriously, half of 2015 is already gone and behind us.

But mostly I think it’s because it means this is now right here and happening:

Camp-Participant-2015-Web-Banner

Yeah, I signed up for Camp NaNo this month. Because I really need to get back into writing (I haven’t been doing much since that really awful cold that floored me) and signing up for camp means I can set a word count goal of my own choosing and then potter away at whatever project I want to work on – I’ve got three currently active writing projects, none of which have had anything really done on them in a while.

I signed up, and for a while I’ve been thinking, oh, that’s still a little while away. But no it’s really not. It’s right here, right now, and now I need to sit down, put my fingers on those keys, and start up with my novels again.

This is actually a good thing. I need a kick up the butt every now and again. Just a little one. To get me started again.

What isn’t a good thing is this heat. I am actually melting slightly, even with the fan on and pointed at my back. despite having a birthday in the summer, I really much prefer the cooler months. Hopefully it won’t melt my brain too much when i’m trying to write.

Anyone else doing camp? Or just have some active projects going on at the moment?

So, as well as the A to Z challenge, which was very successful, I was also trying to complete a Camp NaNo during April, because all these things happen in the same month, and I am some sort of sadist for trying to complete everything at once.

I set myself what I thought was a reasonable goal, half of the normal word count, 25,000 words. Because during NaNoWriMo in November I can easily hit 75K plus, so 25K when I’m doing another challenge sound reasonable, right?

Yeah, didn’t happen so much.

desk_head_bang_gif_by_nino_umaka-d5xdbjuTurns out, editing takes a lot more work that writing the first draft. At least, that’s what I am experiencing.

See, when I write a first drafts, I am pantsing it. I spew out words onto the page, make things up as I go, occasionally write down brief notes when flashes of inspiration hit or I really need to remember something for a future part of the book, but mainly it’s my fingers on the keyboard, and away I go.

Editing I have to keep stopping. Keep thinking. Keep going over to google and finding facts. Making it realistic as well as imaginative. Double check that everything is consistent. It’s actually far more work, thinking about characterisation, setting, plots. Do I need to keep this scene, this paragraph, this line, can it be rewritten, what does it add?

It’s hard work!

I only ended up doing 7,759 words this month. Which, you know, is way more than I started off with. I’ve gone from page 6 to page 25, not even half a chapter to chapter 3 and a bit. It’s a very slow work in progress.

Excruciatingly slow. And yeah, I could sit down and chain my butt to the chair, and I probably should at some point, but editing is really hard mental work, and I’ve actually got a fair bit of that going on at the moment. Doesn’t help that this week has been the worst. Not monday of course, the bank holiday was excellent, but the Monday masquerading as Tuesday and today have been fairly awful. So all I want to do is go home and put pets in tiny cages to battle for my amusement. Don’t worry, they’re all digital. I’ve been catching pets like a mad thing in WoW.

But I’m going off track. April was an excellent month from the blogging point of view, not so much from the editing one however. Let’s try again this month, and next month, and several months for the rest of the year, until it gets done. Anyone joining me in the editing slog?

P.S. I did treat myself to this awesome t-shirt from Camp merchandise – it’s super soft and lovely! It’s a compass, with all the points pointing at the word WRITE.

camp_15_shirt_main_2

Ready, Steady, Flop

So there were a whole bunch of things that I was going to do over the weekend, including a massive dragon post because I’ll be a little busy with A to Z for normal posting, but as you can probably tell, that didn’t happen.

Instead I’ve been ill since Thursday.

blanket-bored-cold-cosy-couch-Favim.com-366635Cold’s aren’t very nice anyway, but this one was a strange one. I would get very restless, get up and do something, and five minutes later collapse onto the sofa complete knackered. Half an hour of lying on the sofa later, and I get restless and here we go again. Add in explosive sneezing and inability to breath through nose and I’ve had four pretty unfun days.

Better today (for a given value of better, but at least I can breath through my nose and stand up for more than five minutes at a time) but it is now Monday instead of the weekend, so a whole chunk of time has disappeared.

April starts on Wednesday, and that means that I have today and tomorrow to sort things out before it hits and I have to do things daily.

A to Z Challenge

I’ve picked my theme, got my letters, I just need to write the posts. I’m a fan of the write it on the day method, so I tend to follow that, except I’m going away over easter weekend, so I do have to write and schedule some posts in advance, because I will be nowhere near a computer/the internet/civilisation for four days.

I am really looking forward to this though, and seeing what all the other lovely followers of the challenge are going to post as well.

Camp NaNoWriMo

Not the main event, but Camp NaNo is nice for getting your butt into gear after the new year, and I really do seem to need that this year.

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The project I am going with is carrying on from NaNoWriMo. I finished writing Mechanica Awakening, and ever since the New Year I have been struggling to edit it. So I am making my April Camp NaNo project to edit Mechanica, and hopefully give myself a good kick up the backside because I am inching along at a snail’s pace with the editing so far. I haven’t even finished editing the first chapter (although to be fair the first chapter needs a lot of editing).

Empire

And, of course, because Easter weekend is coming around, I shall also be casting off from civilisation and going back into the world of changelings, cambions, eternals and great big battles. Having finally convinced myself that my costume is good and doesn’t need anything else to make it look good, I’m starting to feel the keen of going and camping in a field and romping around for four days (got to love the long Easter weekend. Bank holiday Friday and Monday? Thank you very much).

640px-Empire-map-illus-colour-hiresI’ve got some plans, some things to do, and some good roleplay to happen before we go into the big battles (last Empire game I was capture by orcs three times during the battle, so I get to play being really nervous about going to, overcome the fear, and being a little clingy to my protective warriors. I’m only a squishy mage healer after all! Also I get to hate on Dawn a little, it was their fault at least two of the times. In my character’s eye anyway. Roleplay!)

But I’ll have to play it out and see what happens when I actually get into the field. The only thing I have left to do is throw together some basic costume to put on in the event of death. Because that is a thing which is kind of likely to happen when you battle.

So yeah, busy April. Very busy first week of April, because of how Easter falls this year.

I look forward to it though, and keeping busy is always good. Now I’m going to go and research/plan/write my first few A to Z posts, and hop on over to some other lovely blogs to find even more amazing themes for April.

If you know what I mean by the title, you just might be doing Camp NaNo, or some other project similar to it, as well.

Camp is progressing, although I have hit a stumbling block. Partially because I have been doing the smae thing over and over and I need variety to keep me going, and partially because I have step a and step b and there’s a bridge between the two points that I can’t really figure out. But that’s plot for you. And this is the plot revision, so it’s got to make sense!

But, I’ll get there. Eventually. Once I get over this bridge it should pick up again because I know what I’m doing once I get to point b. And yes I could skip it, but then I’ll have to come back to it and I would rather get the hard bit out of the way and then have a nice easy bit as a reward then have to do the hard bit later.

Other things in my life are going well. Holiday (because working in education means I get 6 weeks off over the summer!) is progressing well, and I am doing things that I want to do, mixed in with small chores. Mum’s wedding is soon and I have my dress! It is so shiny, and lovely and I am looking forward to next Monday. It’s scary that it’s so close.

One thing I was going to do was apologise for not posting so much on the blog over the last week or so. I did a dragon’s post last thursday, and that’s been it for a while. This was because I was the other side of the country away from my desktop and then THINGS got in the way. Namely the novel, but really I should be writing everywhere.

But you know what? My stats are excellent!

statsI mean look at that! Today, before I even logged on to come and do my theme for today, I was at 40 views! And I’ve had 30’s and 20’s over the weekend.

I mean, compared to other people’s blogs that might not be much, but for my blog this is fantastic! And I haven’t been posting anything!

So I have no idea what’s going on there, but I am damn pleased about it, and I hope the people who have visisted enjoyed the blog 🙂

How are other people doing this summer? Work wise? Play wise? Heat wise? (I am dying a little in the heat, I will admit).

 

July

By the end of this month I will have:

  • Finished work for the summer, starting a glorious six weeks off
  • Had my bridesmaid dress fitted
  • Been to said wedding as a bridesmaid
  • Visited my father and Nana and inherited a bunch of furniture from Nana’s flat
  • Gone camping for Empire event 3
  • Had a house warming party
  • Seen How to Train Your Dragon 2 a bunch of times in the cinema since it comes out this month
  • And hopefully written 50,000 words!

2014-Participant-Facebook-ProfileYes, it is Camp NaNoWriMo again this month, and despite being busy for most of this month, I have decided to undertake the full 50K words. This is because I am editing my work in progress, and editing is sometimes made easier when you just copy paste whole sections of your previous novel into the edit (not all of it is bad after all, most of it just needs tweaking and adding to/taking away from). And also I finish work for the summer this Friday, so I will have all day every day to write past Friday. Theoretically. I am sure that days I cannot write on will be more than made up for by the days I can. I’m am very much looking forward to it.

 

My mother’s wedding is coming up as well. I have a dress fitting on Monday, which I am excited for. This is the dress:

1505259_10151845684345794_148052734_n 1528704_10151845684215794_1801796881_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although not in pink. In a bright electric blue because blue is so my colour, and it looks fantastic against white.

5_metre_bell_tent_standard_1-500x500Empire 3 (or 7 depending on whether you count year to year or cumulatively) is the weekend after the wedding, so we’ll go from posh frocks and dinners to camping out and trampling round in the mud. It’ll be fun, I can’t wait. Although hopefully it won’t be as rainy this time round. Also we have an IC tent for the first time, so we’ll have to see how that goes 🙂

 

And of course, although I have already seen it, this particular film is getting released in the cinemas for real. So I shall of course be going to see it a bunch of times.

how_to_train_your_dragon_2_movie-wideHow is your July looking? As busy as mine?

On Writing

Why yes I have just finished Stephen King’s Memoir of the craft, thanks for asking. Personally I think it was okay, had some nice tips on the craft itself, but at fifteen years old, it is beginning to show its age. Not a bad thing, but the publishing industry is not what it was fifteen years ago.

Considering I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo and had the goal of getting myself published for a while now, I’m not quite sure what’s changed to make me knuckle down and really concentrate on getting my current novel edited and reviewed to potentially go out to people. I’m a way off sending it to publishers, but I do want to see it get there eventually.

It might be because through the a to z challenge I have found the blog of loads of other writers out there and have renewed my determination to write.

It might be because one of those writers encouraged me to go out and buy Writing Magazine, which not only has great articles in it, but loads of writing competitions, which I think is a great way to start submitting things for review.

It might be because a friend of mine pointed me at another competition where you can win mentorship and writing classes as the prize instead of money. I am really interested in this competition, since it’s run in conjunction with the local writing centre and a website called Ideas Tap (for creative people in the UK, sorry America but I think you have tons of stuff over the pond) and you can submit anything from a short story to an extract in any genre. It’s what I’m working on at the moment – combing through all the stuff I’ve written and seeing if I can find a bit which I really think showcases what I can do. Definitely going to edit it before submitting, but I’ve got to find something of appropriate length (2,000 words) before I can do that.

Either way, I seem to have found more enthusiasm for writing, which is great and exactly what Camp NaNoWriMo was meant to do. Or at least the month of April was meant to do, and it’s worked!

As an add on to the latest Writing Magazine, there was a book: Kick start your creativity in seven days. It’s got some writing exercises in there which I will be doing over the course of the next week. Here’s the first:

Day 1 Exercise – Your Surroundings

My feet are resting on the table, having shoved aside empty packets of sweets and used plate with chinky cutlery that should have been placed in the kitchen. My own drink sits to the left of my, just out of reach of my arms, but that’s what I get for sitting in the comfy sofa.

Going beyond the table, I see my three house mates lined up on the other side of the room. One is on the xbox, and is lounging in his chair in a relaxed position with controller dangling from one hand.

The next is laid out on the sofa, still having  to keep her leg up with the plushest cushion shoved under it. She’s got her laptop out and is bubbling over with her ideas about what she’s working on, various words float over to me as the discussion turns to dinner.

The third is staring intently at his monitor, having moved his behemoth of a desktop in here to be ‘sociable’ with the rest of us. Either that or his desk got shaky enough to necessitate moving away from it. He’s clicking and furiously tapping the keyboard. I think he’s dying in his game, or rather attempting not to.

A flash of my wriggling toes draws my attention to them. It’s possibly my odd socks that draw my attention to them, or maybe it’s just because I like the feeling of cloth on my toes so much that I need to watch it as well as feel it.

End of April

Whelp, I am now far too used to posting every day to give up just yet. Although the topic today is not going to be dragons.

As well as doing the a to z challenge I was also taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo, with the goal of 25K words. And I am glad to say, I reached my goal 🙂 Hence why you can now see the winner’s badge on the side of the page (and the survivor badge from a to z).

I decided to start a new novel rather than editing my old one, to give myself a bit of a break. And now that it’s gotten to the end of the month, I feel ready to go back to my novel-in-edit. That’s not to say I’m just going to dump what I’ve written on Eidetic (the working title for the novel), but I’m going to concentrate on something else as my priority.

I did have fun writing it, and the character is not typical of the characters that I usually write, so it’s been fun developing her a little bit. And because I am a seat of the pants writer, despite being only 25K into the story, I have already been surprised by what turns out to happen in the book. It’s one of the reasons I love being a pantser so much – just because I write it doesn’t mean I know what’s going to happen.

I’ve been picking up a lot of books on writing as well. The Writer’s ABC Checklist was something that I flicked through, since it’s not the sort of book to read cover to cover, and currently sitting on my desk is Stephen King’s On Writing, which I will probably finish today. I also have the Writing Magazine sitting at home, after it got recommended to me by another blogger, so there’s lots of material out there.

And lots of it has conflicting advice. Before this month one source told me: never stray from your current novel, it would be like cheating on your partner. But just before April started something else told me: put a novel to one side, do something else, then come back to it with a fresh mind, you will be able to edit it better with an objective viewpoint. And although I’ve been told the next thing, it’s one thing to be told a piece of advice and another thing to discover it for yourself, which is what April has really taught me about writing: There is no right or wrong advice, there is only advice that is right for you.

So I’m going to follow the advice which I feel is right for me, and give myself the rest of this week and weekend off from writing. This might be because on Monday I was 6K short of my 25K, so I wrote 6K in three days (I have written 6K in a day before, but that just didn’t happen this time round), so I feel like I’ve earned a bit of a rest, and a chance to do something other than writing.

I am going to do some blog posts though, since this feels more like me rambling to a friend than writing 🙂 I’ve got something dragon related lined up to come, probably coming on Saturday since I’ll need a but of time to put it together.

Extract from Eidetic

bench girl

A week later, and at midday Sage was at the courtyard outside of the palace, where the execution was due to take place. The gallows had been erected during the week, and now there was a huge crowd of the city folk around them, commoners standing in the middle, but at the sides were awning where noble folks gathered. The very lucky ones were standing on the balconies that surrounded the open courtyard, being allowed in the palace as they were.

She cast a weathered eye over the courtyard, but as of yet there was no activity. She should have gotten here earlier, but she was still trying to not attract attention until the time was right, and turning up early might have raised some eyebrows.

Handily Sage was thin enough that she could wriggle between the members of the thick crowd in an effort to get to the front, keeping her cloak from snagging on other people’s possessions, and her hood from falling down so that her face and hair were mostly concealed.

She briefly wondered why there was such a considerable turnout, but then again, executions were the free entertainment of the afternoon. And it wasn’t everyday that the emperor was able to execute a traitor to his fledging empire.

A man grunted as Sage sidled in next to him at the front, where a line of rope indicated where the civilians should stop. There were guards around, but they were focused on the platform, to stop anyone from interfering in the proceedings. they were interested in the ragtag citizens unless they started trouble.

With the crowd pressing in on her back, Sage saw that she had timed things well as a man came out onto the execution and started reading out a long document detailing the crimes that the condemned had committed and why the sentence was death.

She had no interest in this bit, and looked to the courtyard entrance where the most guards were clustered. From the downward slope of the tunnel, that was the one which would lead down to the dungeons, and when she caught sight of her brother, she knew that she was correct.

He was standing up straight, a proud tilt to his head, even though his walk was restricted to a shuffle by manacles.

Such a noble pose. Such an idiot.

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