Here we are again

One day I’d like to write a blog post that isn’t 75% apology and 25% lambasting myself for being useless. Today isn’t one of those days I’m afraid.

I just spent a good chunk of time scrolling back through this blog reading all the inconsistent posts I’ve shared since August last year on writing, studying and as you might have seen by the last thing I posted in June – mental health. I’ve done a very poor job of documenting my studies & my writing journey and I really want to try to make 2016 a better year for this, but I’ll need a bit of a run up so here I am trying to blog again.

I ought to give an update on what has happened since I last posted, I’ll have to try and remember the important events. My memory is pretty shoddy with my own life but I’ll give it a go.

  1.  I passed both my OU modules with a 2:1 – somehow did better on my French EMA than my Creative Writing which is insane since I spent almost no time revising for the French exam. My French luck strikes again.
  2. I submitted a story I wrote for my TMA05 to the British Fantasy Society competition – found out in October that I didn’t make the shortlist which was a pretty depressing end to 4 months of waiting.
  3. I started working on my novel again, this time I decided to go back to the beginning of the book and work linearly through it. Reworking chapters I’d already wrote, writing new ones as I got to gaps. I finished writing Chapter 13 the other day which tells you a lot about how fast I’m progressing (glacially). I nearly have 40K of this “Second” Draft now and thankfully a bit more of a clue as to what needs to happen in the middle 25K that I have yet to draft. I’ll maybe do another post talking about the State of the Novel soonish.
  4. I started  my Children’s Literature OU module. This is the first Level 3 course I’ve done so that’s a nice dollop of pressure to do well with it. I somehow got an excellent mark on my first TMA but it was about Northern Lights so I was pretty invested in it. I’m meant to be working on my 2nd TMA right now actually (why else would I be reviving a comatose blog if not for procrastination?) but I’m struggling to get started. I’ve read the books I need to but I’m in that familiar dichotomy of “Want to get a good mark, scared I’ll fuck it up, too nervous to put words on a page because they’ll be shit, ad. nauseum”. Maybe once this is posted I’ll be in a better frame of mind.
  5. I’ve got an official job! Yes it’s doing exactly what I’ve been doing sporadically since February but I’ve got a contract and legit salary so that’s swanky. It is just a six month contract until my mother found another person to take the Finance Admin job permanently (which she now has) so from January I’ll have the fun task of training up the new lady and handing over my job in March. I kinda secretly hope that she’s not as efficient as me straight away because then it’ll sooth my irrational hurt at being replaced (I never wanted to do this job permanently anyway).
  6. I’m now 25. Which is weird because it means I’m on the slide towards being 30 and I honestly don’t know what to think about that. I don’t feel like someone who is 25, I barely feel 20 with how immaturely I deal with certain things, for fuck’s sake my mother brings me lunch when I’m at work! I am more than capable of making my own damn sandwiches but I let her do it cos it’s easier. Before I turn 26 there is a *lot* of shit I need to sort out about myself because I am far too dependent on others in various aspects of my life and it’s not healthy.
  7. Speaking of what’s healthy, I’m not quite sure I am, in the mental well-being sense anyway. Since my last blog post I have had some rather up-and-down times with how I’m feeling in myself. I had a *very* bad day back in October which involved me loitering round Nottingham Waterstones alone for several hours too crippled with anxiety to go upstairs to where the YA Extravaganza was going on. There are still many questions and doubts I have about what I’m doing swirling in my head that I have barely begun to pick apart and deal with. It’s probably a task for another day when I’m not diligently procrastinating what should be my top priority.

I’m going to leave the list there. I am very fond of 7 of things (probably due to my Potter obsession). Whether there’ll be any sort of follow-up post in the near future I honestly can’t say. I have toyed with the idea of starting up the Cup O’ Thoughts posts again for the days when I’m not at work to see if that will help me create a routine for myself, but we’ll need to see if it’s possible.

Going to head off now in search of some food. I might even switch off my laptop and try to get some work done analogue style. I don’t know why I’m finding so hard to be productive in my office anymore. More questions all the time. *sigh*

Hope your Sunday is going better than mine.

Speak soon perhaps

Ray x




Writing Ray – Where I’m at with things

Evenin’ folks! I thought that I’d do a bit of a post Nano update talking about where I’m at currently with my writing shenanigans (God I love that word). I haven’t done much writing since I hit my camp goal, little bits on a couple of scenes that are going to go towards the end of the book and also one which is purely for the repayment of feels to my dearest Alpha reader and Twinnie Jess since she was rather upset with me after she read the dreaded Dramatic Death Scene.

So I’m not going to be allowed to kill any more of my protags for at least one book – which is fine by me since I have already created for myself a musical trigger for tears from writing that death scene. Which is going to be very awkward later this month when Le Boyf and I go to London to see Yoshiki (Former drummer for the band X Japan) play his classical piano music which does include orchestral versions of some of their songs – two of which were playing as I wrote the final bit of the DDS. So it’s very likely that I’m going to burst into tears in the concert hall on hearing either of those songs (One is ironically enough *called* Tears – skip to about 3mins in and then tell me that you wouldn’t well up. The other is Forever Love – this is a shorter version and do excuse wet Yoshiki :P).

The plan for the next few months is going to be to get the end of the book done (only two scenes left I reckon) and start working on the beginning. Due to how I started writing this project I have the first scene I wrote being the first time my two main characters meet which I have got to write up to and then continue with the next section of the story. Originally I thought this scene was going to occur about a third of the way through the book, but now that I’ve written about half of the first draft I think it’s going to have to come earlier than that.

But then will come the question of do I need to re-write that scene when I get to it? How drastically different has my writing become from that first scene to now? I don’t really want to the consider the possibility that I’ve got worse from that point but one should never rule these things out and with me I have found that the more I do something the worse I get at it in certain bizarre occasions (cf. my book reviewing). It’s shit like this that keeps me panicking.

However I gotta keep that neurotic side of my brain crammed in a teeny-tiny box otherwise it’ll just jettison my confidence in this book and I’ll stop completely – which I really don’t want to do. Seriously I am really fucking enjoying writing this book even when it’s mashing my brain or making me cry.

All being well I should hopefully *fingers crossed* have my first draft done by the time I finish work in July so I can spend leisurely days sat outside with a stack of paper (heck knows I will need to buy a efficient printer with affordable ink) and a heap of red pens alongside Jess editing this thing into something that works as whole and not in chunks.

I don’t currently plan to even attempt to publish it, that is just something I don’t have the energy or mental fortitude to put myself through. I want to finish a book, for me, so that I can say that I have *finished* something before I continue writing the second book, which may eventually turn into three depending on how out of control the world-building gets and what plot bunnies spring up from that. If I get to the end of writing this story, however long it turns out to be, and I am happy enough with it that I’d like to start submitting it then maybe I will. But that won’t be for a while yet.

Until then I’m just gonna keep plodding on with it and dragging y’all along with me if you don’t mind.
Current rough count on the manuscript is probably around 57,000 words but that’s with two scenes to write and one to complete that I kind of abandoned. So by the time I hit the “end” of the book I should be at around 60K.

Now this post has got really lengthy and kinda meandering so I’m gonna go back and carry on with this scene that is going to hopefully stop me receiving Howlers 😛
Until next time folks