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A quick update

June 7, 2011
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I’ve picked up speed with writing again over the last few days. I’ve just passed 56,000 on the Steampunk WIP so the next big landmark of 60,000 is on the horizon.

Writing is definitely a journey for me, and, despite the bumps in the road, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Back from the Highlands

May 30, 2011

Just a quick post to say I’m back online after a few days away in the Scottish Highlands. I had a wonderful time visiting the soggy, cold, windy but magical island of Skye. I’ve come back refreshed and re-energised so there should be some seirous damage to my Steampunk novel wordcount over the next few weeks.

Halfway there!

May 21, 2011

This week I hit 50,000 words on the first draft of my steampunk novel! Thanks to RL commitments I’m a little behind where I wanted to be, but I’m still moving forward so that’s okay.

I’m now exactly halfway through my planned word count for the first draft (see counter to the top right of this page). I’m also pretty much halfway through my outline, which is a good sign! I’m well into Act Two of the story with my characters finding themselves in all sorts of jeopardy. I’m also moving the action through many different, varied environments which have been great fun to create.

The challenge now will be to bring the story home. I know what my ending is but I only have a rough idea of how I’m going to get there. It’s going to be fun to discover how my characters overcome the obstacles I’ve put in their way.

Once the first draft is complete I’ll be taking a writing break to focus on some publicity. I have a Twitter feed lined up for my main character, a website ready to go and, of course, the all-important title. All this (and more!) will be revealed once I’ve got my characters to their destination.

Then of course I have to go back and fix all the loose threads I’ve left myself. And editing. LOTS of editing!

Writing update

May 15, 2011

Apologies for not blogging for a while. Yep, it’s those pesky RL commitments again!

The good news is that the writing is continuing. The steampunk novel draft now stands at 47,500. I’ve also fleshed out more of my world and its history which is providing lots of backstory ideas to be explored at a later date.

The last week has seen me having very little time on the computer as I’ve had family visiting. Next week should provide me with more opportunities to get some writing done. I really want to hit 50K as soon as possible: psychologically it’s an important milestone as it’s the length of a Nanowrimo draft and it’s the half-way point towards my first-draft goal of 100K.

More news soon!

Steam Tuesday: a bicycle-powered hippo

May 3, 2011

It’s amazing what you can spot when you’re out and about.

There was a Spring fair on in my home town a couple of weeks ago: fresh food, face painting for the kids etc, the usual stuff.

But then, in the middle of all the expected distractions was this *very* unexpected sight:

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Yes. A cycle-powered hippo and a couple of wonderful Steampunk performance artists!

I never did get to the bottom of what they were up to but they performed a little sketch where the woman was checking up on the health of the hippo. It was a delightfully unexpected find and made me smile for the rest of the day.

It just goes to show that it’s always worth looking on at what’s going on around you. The unexpected can fire off all sorts of creative thoughts in your brain.

I don’t know if I’ll ever write about a pedal-powered African mammal or not, but it doesn’t matter. It made me smile.

Here are some other pictures of the sketch. Enjoy!

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Another bumpy patch

April 29, 2011

I was going great guns with the Steampunk novel at the start of the week: Act One was finished and I’d started Act Two.

Then commitments took over.

My writing time seems to come in peaks and troughs: some weeks can be blissfully free of distractions, allowing me to write thousands of words per day; others are insanely crazy and gives me no time to do anything online save a bare-bones check of email and Twitter. Last week was one of the former; this week one of the latter.

Looking at my diary, next week is going to be fairly busy: I have several appontments each day from Monday to Friday. This weekend is a quite quiet so I’m hoping to catch up with some writing.

My manuscript currently stands at 39,700. I should be able to put on a few thousand words before Monday rolls around 🙂

I have all sorts of plans for the build up to release of the Steampunk novel but I’ve decided not to put out anything significant until at least the first draft is done.

There was a fascinating article in today’s UK Independent newspaper – the writer George R R Martin is releasing his latest novel far later than he planned: Martin put his delay down to his close relationship to his fans, whom he corresponds with regularly. “The more readers you have, the harder it is to keep up, and then you can’t get any writing done,” he told The New Yorker. (Read the article at http://tinyurl.com/6eaxlov)

I think this is a little extreme: as an indy author I know a relationship with readers and other writers is essential. However, I can see the temptation of spending all of your time writing about writing, rather than actually writing. It’s important to strike a balance.

That’s why this blog isn’t being updated quite as often as I’d like. At the moment my priorities have to be #1 offline commitments, #2 writing #3 social networking. Writing and creativity are my passion but there are only twenty-four hours in every day so sometimes there’s not quite enough time to do everything I want.

But the wheel will turn again (it always does) and then the words will fly!

Moving forward

April 23, 2011

Time for a quick update on the Steampunk novel, methinks.

I’ve just passed 38,000 words and hope to hit 40,000 tomorrow. My aim for April has always been to hit 50K by the last day of the month. That’ll be pushing it a bit, but I reckon I’m going to end up darn close to my goal.

I have a busy week ahead of me, with friends visiting, tutoring work and other real life commitments, but the story is now taking shape very nicely.

I’m now well into the adventure segment of the story and my characters are now taking on a life of their own which is always wonderful as it makes writing so much easier. I’m finding that certain details in the set up of the earlier part of the book are now incorrect. I’ll fix continuity in editing, but for now I’m making use of Word’s highlighting facility and marking all the details that I will have to go back and fix later. By flagging them as I go along I’ll find it far easier to find these points during editing.

I love highlighting. My desk is covered in highlighted bits of paper, different colours meaning different things and drawing my eye to jobs I need to do, phone calls I have to make and events I need to attend. In writing too, I’ve always made use of highlighting, whether on paper or screen, to help me keep track of corrections and alterations I need to make.

As always when writing it’s important to develop systems that help you to produce the work you want to produce. Highlighting works for me and is one of the most essential devices in my writing toolkit.

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